At the beginning of each season, I pull out one of Edwin Way Teale's books from the American Seasons Series. Born in Joliet, Illinois, in 1899, Teale is a famous naturalist who wrote four travel books (among others) that documented his journeys through the seasons. North with the Spring, his first, was researched on a trip in 1947, followed by Autumn Across America in 1952, Journey into Summer in 1957 and Wandering through Winter in the winter of 1961-1962. Teale died in 1980.
More than travelogues, these books offer intimate descriptions of the landscapes and ecosystems through which he and his wife traveled. While he visited well-known parks and nature preserves along the way, Teale had a curiosity that made every byway interesting and he taught me, as a reader, that we can learn a great deal from what, at first glance, might appear to be rather mundane habitat. Indeed, it was this trait that attracted me to his books and why I included North with the Spring as one of the Four Books that most influenced my life as a naturalist.
As the astronomical winter begins, I have pulled Wandering through Winter from the shelf and will, at the very least, skim its contents. More than fifty years after writing his American Seasons Series, Teale is still good company.