Insight and Advice for Observant Ramblers
by Cathy Johnson
Walking is much more than a way to get from point A to point B for writer and artist Cathy Johnson. It’s a form of meditation, a key to self-discovery, a means to escape daily distractions. “It’s a way,” she explains, “to lose myself in what I see and hear and feel.”
With a sketchbook, a pencil, and a relaxed, inquisitive spirit, Johnson went on a series of outdoor journeys — short and long — to explore the world around her. NATURE WALKS, a chronicle of those journeys, includes Johnson’s invigorating insights and plainspoken advice to those who would join her in the outdoors. Beautifully illustrated with the author’s own sketches, this unique book also includes background information designed to deepen the reader’s appreciation of the natural world. Says Johnson, “My intent was to explore and sketch and annotate these walks, then to add a bit of research to the picture. It’s how I work best.”
Johnson’s rambles took her to wilderness areas across the country, from a New England seacoast to a Missouri forest to a desert in the Southwest. During her walks she made a host of discoveries. In a walnut grove she found a mysterious arboreal webbing that even experts could not identify. Along abandoned railroad tracks she found miles of ready-made nature trails that are at the center of a bitter controversy. On the “barren” prairies of the Midwest, she found a startling variety of wildflowers and grasses. As described in NATURE WALKS, these discoveries — and dozens of others glimpsed in gloomy salt marshes, dazzling rock formations, and star-filled midnight skies — demonstrate why walking through nature is an ideal way to refresh the spirit and enrich the soul.