Empowered by Nature

Empowerment was a very real force when I studied at Oberlin in the 1960s. But only after I left did I fully extend that theme to the world that touched me the most deeply: the natural world
and its nonhuman inhabitants.

Just as Oberlin's gray climate shunts students into the library to study (or so we were told), so Iowa's corn-dominated landscape--my home for the past 20 years--forces nature lovers to be open to opportunity. When recently offered the chance to review for a local newspaper an outspoken, long-dead, female ornithologist's republished book, I grabbed it. I became enthralled, not only with the description of an empowered life focused on the same Iowan environment that entrances me, but with a woman who, like me, was obsessed with this landscape and its creatures. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered that this woman, born nearly a century before me, had also been an Oberlin student.

Althea Sherman: fellow lover of nature, fellow activist, fellow woman and kindred spirit. She leads onward. The circles, as they continue to tighten, allure us with their gifts of delight.