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Monday, December 28, 2009

Ten Things I've Learned From Rachel Carson

I have a dear friend whom I’ve never met. In fact, she was dead before I was even born. If I think about this fact for too long, I want to cry. I find myself thinking of her everyday. I call on her words when I need inspiration. I believe there is life after death. I want to have a nice long talk with her by the sea someday.

In one word I can describe Rachel Carson:


She cared for the world before the words “environmental issues” were ever spoken. A visionary? She saw herself as a writer first, than a scientist. I see her as my hero.

Rachel Carson was born in 1907 and died in 1964. In her short life she wrote several pieces of literature. My world changed in 1996 when I read a book called The Edge of the Sea. Writing so passionate and poetic; it felt like reading scripture.

If I dared to introduce my own writing genre I would call her writings: nature romance. Her words take me dancing in the forest on a bed of damp ferns. I’ve heard we may forget facts, but we don’t forget feelings. When I’m out in nature, I feel Rachel Carson’s words speaking to me through my feelings.

Think of the most wonderful attributes about a child you love.

Rachel displayed those very attributes throughout her adult life. She loved being outside. She carried buckets and pails with dirty worn-out shovels. She got on her hands and knees to look under rocks. She drew pictures of the birds and un-hatched eggs in their nests. Crabs were always fascinating, as were starfish, sea urchins, snails and other creatures that were always changing. Water was something to be touched, not just looked at. It didn’t matter if it was cold, she wanted to be exploring outside. One particular outing, she was gazing at a tide pool of little creatures. After several hours, her knees buckled. The cold water left her legs numb. A friend lifted Rachel’s petite frame and carried her back to shore, but like a child, she couldn’t wait to get back into the water.

In honor of Rachel, I named my little son Reef Carson.

He already loves the sea.

And creatures of the sea.

Here are ten things I’ve learned from Rachel Carson:

  1. Watch birds
  2. Carry a journal when out in nature
  3. Learn from a child’s natural curiosity
  4. Real women wear gloves
  5. Anything radical is not pure
  6. It’s easy to protect the earth when remembering who created it
  7. Write letters to friends
  8. Study what you love
  9. Visit the ocean regularly
  10. Honest and passionate writing can change the world

Thank you, Rachel, for all you’ve taught me and my children.


  1. Cute pics. I was thinking about your question, and I don't have a good answer. I have many authors who afftected me but no single person stands out. Good question though.

  2. Lovely post. I am really enjoying your blog! Now I want to know more about Rachel Carson!