Many years ago I read 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert Pirsig and learned a new word: aretê. It means personal quality, virtue or excellence. The word encapsulates the idea of the more modern idea of the Renaissance man - someone who is open to learning a little bit about everything and who seeks to excel at everything they do. Aretê is my inspiration and I try to live by this sentiment every day.
I've always had a deep connection to Nature and I love exploring national parks and other preserves around the world. Nature's diversity is truly awe-inspiring. In my younger days I spent most of my freetime in the woods and fields, learning the plants and animals of my home state of Michigan. Along the way I deepened my spiritual abilities by learning how to tune in to the natural world. I learned that everything is alive and aware, and with practice we can all learn to communicate with the larger world around us.
Eventually I came inside and struggled to build a career where I could stay connected to nature while earning a living. This journey led me to the world of botanic gardens and I spent several years at the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI, and the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, CO. I eventually left Denver Botanic Gardens to launch Thunderbird Design in Denver. After 8 years building the business and creating numerous award-winning landscapes I needed a break. I sold the business and moved to Florida.
Florida marked a wonderful new chapter in my life. Much of my extended family moved here as well and I began writing books and making movies. When I needed a break between writing and filming I spent many hours in nature. I couldn't deny that being connected to plants was my passion. And so I started Artful Exteriors to continue creating custom gardens for people. These days I'm able to pursue many of my passions at once: writing, landscaping and filmmaking. I feel very blessed.
When I'm not working I still love to explore Nature, but I'm also an avid reader of ancient history and cultures, climate science, world religions and metaphysics, mythology, natural sciences and astronomy, etc. I guess I love science as much as I love spirituality.