This blog entry was created by Bob Meadows as part of my “Into Nature” guest blog series celebrating the reissue of my book, The Ancient One. I invite you to submit your own nature inspirations for a chance to win signed copies of the new edition of The Ancient One and for your entry to be featured here on my blog!
If I ever gave any thought to “nature” as a kid, it was only as far as the crabapple tree I loved to climb in my Detroit backyard. My mother’s dad, however, grew up in and around Wheeling, West Virginia, a place of mountains and greenery that stretched beyond the limits of my vision. He hunted and fished and every year he and his five siblings gathered their families for a reunion in Oglebay Park, a Wheeling landmark. My cousins and I—all of us inner-city kids from Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago—tore through the park with the unfettered rambunctiousness of youth. We roamed the hills, swam, climbed trees, skipped rocks, and breathed a type of air—fresh—that we never experienced back home. The lazy pace came to bore us as teenagers, but that feeling passed long ago. Now that we all have our own kids, we eagerly return every summer to Oglebay, reminiscing about the havoc we once wrought and watching the new generations of our family embrace a way of life that big cities just can’t touch.