Edwin Way Teale

Nature is Shy

The botanist Edwin Way Teale married Nelly Imogene Donovan.
Edwin and Nelly met in college. After they married, they moved to New York so that Edwin could continue his education at Columbia University.
Edwin's first job was writing for the magazine  Popular Science.
On the side, Edwin began taking pictures and specializing in nature photography. When Edwin was 42, he left Popular Science and becamea 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, the Teale's son, David, was killed in Germany. Edwin and Nelly began traveling across the country by automobile, and the trips help them cope with their grief.
The trips became not only a catharsis but also an integral part of Edwin's writing. Their 1947 journey, covering 17,000 miles in a black Buick, following the advance of spring, led to Edwin'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 Winter won 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, need 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.

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Edwin Way Teale
Edwin Way Teale

Leave a Comment