Here I am with my big sister. I grew up in the city, but spent every week-end at my grandparents’ lake house, building forts in the nearby woods and exploring the swamps in an old rowboat.
You might call this the original Blind Faith Hotel. Our family tree is heavy with people who can’t sit still. So it was natural to me to take my children and go wandering each summer, camping in the Northwest and visiting relatives.
We loved hiking through the mountains, and being near the ocean. And we always felt a little wistful about leaving them.
We had many adventures on these trips, some of which helped inspire my writing. Fiction is not that different than real life, after all. It’s just truer.
Booda’s tale in The Blind Faith Hotel is loosely based on my nephew, Michael’s , real life adventures. He worked on a fishing boat in Alaska, and took my daughter’s stuffed animal along one year. Then he made a picture book for her recounting the journey.
Being a fisherman on the Bering Sea is a difficult, dangerous, and adventurous way to make a living. It really makes you appreciate the people who put food on your table.
My family also spent many happy times in those disappearing wild places known as prairies, learning to love them from a friend who is a restoration ecologist. This is the Ragdale prairie, a very rare remnant that was saved because two teenagers recognized it as something unique and valuable and brought their biology teacher to see it.
When you fall for prairies, you fall hard. This is the prairie I planted in my own back yard. Goldfinches love it. One little patch of prairie doesn’t seem like much, but you may be surprised at the change it makes. The year after I planted this one, a pair of Coopers Hawks nested in our front yard.
Every wild place matters. You can help by creating a small patch of native plants in your yard, school, or neighborhood, and encouraging others to do the same. This patchwork approach to restoration helps create “wildlife corridors” that enable rare and beautiful plants and animals to survive.