Janisse Ray, (https://www.janisseray.com/) best-selling author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and other books, gave a talk and book-reading at Atlanta History Center, and I was mesmerized. Her latest book, Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a World Beyond Humans, a collection of sixteen essays, is a love letter to nature. She read excerpts, and her warm, rich voice fondled the words as she painted a picture for us of monarch butterflies, paddling in the Okefenokee Swamp, and bird counting trips. Imagine being able to write like her! A lofty goal!

At the book signing afterwards, I had the opportunity to chat with her. I felt all excited like a fan-girl! She quickly put me at ease, as we talked about our shared interest in writing, and she encouraged me to keep writing and get my book published.

Shortly after, my husband and I went to California. We made sure to go to the Pacific Grove Monarch Preserve out on the Monterey Peninsula. The monarchs were there, clumped in the trees, huddled for warmth in the chilly fall air. As I marveled at their migratory lifestyle, I thought of Janisse and the reverence with which she approaches monarchs and, indeed, all nature. I felt lucky to be there, witnessing another miracle of nature.