My thanks to all of the scientists who did the years of patient, difficult work necessary to uncover these stories and share them.
Thanks also to the many, many writers who have inspired my life and work. A few of them I know in person, but most I know only through their work. I cannot list them all, but I would especially like to acknowledge Rick Bass, Annie Dillard, Tom Horton, Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Krafel, Gary Paul Nabhan, Richard Nelson, Carl Safina, and Terry Tempest Williams.
I thank my colleagues and the librarians and administrators at Salisbury University for their support and enthusiasm. Special thanks to James Hatley and Michael Waters for showing me what a writing life looks like.
I thank all of the kind editors who have accepted, and improved, my work. Maureen McNeil read and edited a very early version of this manuscript. A very special thank-you to David Rothenberg of Terra Nova Press, who believed in my writing at a very pivotal point, and to Christa Frangiamore, University of Georgia Press, who is something akin to the guardian angel of this book.
I thank the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for paying me to be in the forest for many hours. I would also like to acknowledge all of the wonderful botanists whom I have had the pleasure of spending time with in the field, particularly Matthew Cimino, Wesley Knapp, Wayne Phillips, Doug Samson, Bill Sipple, Dick Weigand, and Ron Wilson.
I thank my dear friends, many of whom are mentioned in these pages. Again, space does not allow me to list them all, but I must mention Kaye and Lloyd Byrd, Holiday and Christopher Johnson, David McDaniel, and Vanessa and Wesley White.
But, of course, my deepest thanks are saved for Rick Maloof, the love of my life.
Previously published essays from this collection have been revised from the original versions:
“Old Growth Air.” Terrain.org: A Journal of Natural and Built Environments 14 (Winter/Spring 2004).
“The September 11th Memorial Forest.” Ecopoetics 3 (Winter 2003): 116–22.
“Things of the World: Snails and Sweetgum.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 12, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 167–76.