Botanist to Author
#OTD It was on this day in 1923 that the botanist Edwin Way Teale married Nelly Imogene Donovan.
The two had met while Teale was at College. After they married, they moved to New York so that Teal could continue his education at Columbia University.
Teale’s first job was writing for the magazine Popular Science.
On the side, he began taking pictures and specializing in nature photography. When Teale was 42, he left Popular Scienceto become a freelancer. By 1943, his book By-ways to Adventure: A Guide to Nature Hobbies won the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished natural history writing.
During World War II, Teale’s son, David, was killed in Germany. The couple began traveling across the country by automobile. The trips help them cope with their grief.
The trips became not only a catharsis but also an integral part of Teale's writing. Their 1947 journey, covering 17,000 miles in a black Buick, following the advance of spring, led to Teale's book north with the spring.
Additional road trips lead to more books: Journey Into Summer, Autumn Across America, and Wandering Through Winter. Wandering Through Winterwon the Pulitzer Prize in 1966.
And, it was Edward Way Teale who said:
For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
Any fine morning, a power saw can fell a tree that took a thousand years to grow.
“Nature is shy and noncommittal in a crowd. To learn her secrets, visit her alone or with a single friend, at most. Everything evades you, everything hides, even your thoughts escape you, when you walk in a crowd.”
“Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among the trees.”