I grew up in the countryside of Pennsylvania. Cogan Station is a small area outside of Williamsport. We lived on Beautys Run Road, barely a two-lane road while I was growing up. Someone almost always had to swerve in order to pass. Even though we were only a few miles off of Route 15, we were in the country. Our house snuggled like a baby between a few hills, the valley not much wider than the width of a superhighway.
Beautys Run flowed down the valley and behind our house. Every year it flooded over into our backyard, and one year under our house, which was built on posts. Flood waters brought a lot of downed trees into our back yard after it receded, and we’d cut them up using a chain saw for our winter fires.
I lived in and around the woods and in nature all of my growing up years. Although we were often told to stay out of the woods at night, that was one of my favorite times to be in the woods. Most days during summer vacation were spent climbing through the woods, up an embankment, and to a tree we named noteleks (skeleton spelled backward), which I’d climb into, sit on an overhanging branch, and eat my peanut butter sandwich for lunch.
I began my mental exercise of making things up when I was young and always in the woods. Everything from super heroes to space aliens, monsters to scientists passed through my imagination. In the evenings, I’d draw pictures of the super heroes I’d invent: The Recker and Meteor Man. From there, I hand drew comic strips, making up the stories as I went along. As I got older, I wrote short stories.
To this day, if I become stuck on a plot, or on a life-lesson that I don’t appear to be getting; if I find that my mind has been stuck in work or family or simply business, I can get clear again with a simple walk in nature. There is something about trees, water, the smell of loam, that takes me to my core again, allows me to let go and be the creative person I have always been.
I’ve relied on nature my whole life, whether going to a city park on Long Island, New York or into the wilderness of Alaska. I find that my life flows better—a little like Beautys Run—when I intersperse long walks into my week. And when my life feels better, I can only imagine that my writing feels better. After all, we two have walked hand-in-hand for many years now.
Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is book one of his new fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.