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The Balsamean™ (Ball-sah-MAY-en)– Balsamea is the forest refuge I live in, named for Abies balsamea, the balsam fir tree. Living there makes me The Balsamean, of course. The blog is about my forest-dependent lifestyle and the nature of things here. It’s a biophilia thing.
Balsamea is a relationship, the product of the union of my nature with these woods.
Out of the woods we came, and to the woods we must return, at frequent intervals, if we are to redeem ourselves from the vanities of civilization. – Paul Jamieson, from his preface to The Adirondack Reader, 2nd ed. (Adirondack Mountain Club, 1984)
Ultimately, there are not two natures, human and non-human. There is one, and humanity is part of it. I am a sylvan, meaning of the forest, not merely in the forest.
However, I am no Daniel Boone or Tarzan. I’m more inspired by John Muir, John Burroughs, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez and Thoreau than by Jim Bridger, Kit Carson or fictional Jeremiah Johnson, although I love the movie, and some of the frontiersmen said funny things, like Jeremiah’s “I’m a fine figure of a man.” I am only a reasonable figure of a man.
I’ve never been lost, but I was mighty turned around for three days once.
― Daniel Boone
I’m an amateur naturalist and nature photo-tinkerer, and a Naturalist with a capital N. That is, I don’t believe in the supernatural, and my only religion is Walking (ask Thoreau about it). The universe operates on natural laws, subject to Murphy’s Law.
I’m a better person when I am in the woods, and I improve with every hour spent in it. Then I go inside and get online and sink back into my ugly self if I stay there too long. So if I don’t get out into the woods a lot every day, it’s bad for the world.
It’s not about escaping to solitude. It’s about immersion in the company of trees. Balsamea has a motto: