Into the Woods, 1: The Language of the Earth
Into the Woods, 3: Tales of the Forest

Into the Woods, 2: The Gift of Wonder

In the lovely video above, children's book author Cornelia Funke speaks about the need for wilderness in children's lives. "Kids are so very good at still being shape-shifters," she says, "and shifting into feathers and fur. They still understand that we are connected to everything in this world, and that we are part of an incredibly intricate woven web of life and creatures."

Raised and educated in Germany, Funke was originally a book illustrator before turning her hand to writing fiction herself -- creating magical novels such as the The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, and The Inkheart Trilogy that have become international bestsellers. She now lives in Los Angeles.

The Deer Child copyright Terri Windling

"In a way that I haven’t yet figured out how to fully articulate, I believe that children who get to see bald eagles, coyotes, deer, moose, grouse, and other similar sights each morning will have a certain kind of matrix or fabric or foundation of childhood, the nature and quality of which will be increasing rare and valuable as time goes on, and which will be cherished into adulthood, as well as becoming -- and this is a leap of faith by me -- a source of strength and knowledge to them somehow. That the daily witnessing of the natural wonders is a kind of education of logic and assurance that cannot be duplicated by any other means, or in other place: unique and significant, and, by God, still somehow relevant, even now, in the twenty-first century. For as long as possible, I want my girls to keep believing that beauty, though not quite commonplace and never to pass unobserved or unappreciated, is nonetheless easily witnessed on any day, in any given moment, around any forthcoming bend."   - Rick Bass ("The Return" )

Bunny girl sketch copyright Terri Windling

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”  - Rachel Carson (A Sense of Wonder)

“I wonder how it is we have come to this place in our society where art and nature are spoke in terms of what is optional, the pastime and concern of the elite?”  - Terry Tempest Williams (Leap)

Bunny friends sketch copyright by Terri WindlingThis post is for Charlotte Hills and all of the other teachers out there, with gratitude for the vital work you do. The pictures above: one of the deer children from my old Desert Spritis series, and two bunny girls from a Devon sketchbook.