We left paradise when I was five and moved to the city to live with my mother's sister. I later learned, there were two reasons for this move: so that my parents could find work and I could attend school. My mother was sympathetic toward my desire to return to the farm, so every July 1 she took me back to paradise for the summer. I lived the rest of the year for those two months.
The farm was run by my aunt and uncle. And they had a son who was my companion in the exploration of the fields for deer, the forests for bears, fence posts for bird's nests, and ponds for the astounding gilled salamanders--we were Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Anything that was alive we were interested in, anything beautiful we were fascinated by. I think this is the natural state of the young until society's norms steal it from them. This enchantment with the land and its creatures is still green in my memory; this joy is still felt in my heart.
My Cousin & Me: And Other Animals is a natural history memoir of two skinny boys chasing life in the hinterland of Ontario unfettered and free, as we would never be again. Those years shaped all the ones that followed. Much of my adult life has been spent in photographing the creatures I had seen on the farm as a boy, and these pictures are liberally scattered throughout these pages. This book is an ode to the beauty of life created by evolution through natural selection.
Come, join my cousin and me as we walk out the door and turn east toward the rising sun to seek the fields and forests for a thousand wonders. The future will not be like the past. Tomorrow will not be like today. Every day is different. You must catch the apple when it falls and sweet or sour bite it hard!