By the spring of my 28th year, I was bored with the rituals of the Catholic Mass and had come to renounce the vindictive God of Western religions. So, on that Easter morning, I elected to forego a church service and paid a visit to our local arboretum. There, undistracted by public piety, I found solitude, natural beauty and quiet inspiration.
On that mild, sunny morning, I walked slowly through the forest, stopping on occasion to listen to the birds or to view the spring wildflowers. Approaching a secluded pond, I caught sight of a mother wood duck and her brood, gliding silently across the calm water. It was that encounter, thirty four years ago yet still clear in my memory, that set the stage for the naturalist philosopy that I have since adopted. Ever since that Easter morning at the arboretum, nature has been my church.
Beyond relishing the peace and inspiration offered by the natural world, I have come to despise the divisive force of organized religion, which, by its very nature, promotes discrimination and intolerance. On this annual celebration of rebirth, I am grateful for the Easter awakening that changed my life so many years ago.