February 16, 2016

How to Be a Wildflower

Today I celebrate the release of my first published book, “How to Be a Wildflower: A Field Guide.” This book is my very heart and soul translated to paper. It’s a glimpse into my past and present, and the enormous amount of the beauty I have encountered in the natural world.

This book is largely inspired by a handful of my favorite memories:

Driving my orange VW van along the California Coast to Big Sur, 

Marveling at a dusk firefly extravaganza in the Blue Ridge Mountains,

Looking for The Mystery Lights in Marfa, Texas,

And getting lost (but pleasantly so) after a 10 mile canoe trip down the Mississippi River. (I can still feel the warm rain of that day and smell the tall green grass we waded through to find the trail.)

It’s moments like these that I hope never fade. So I paint them. I write them out. I make lists of moments, of flavors, of words that stir up these memories like a wild Midwestern thunderstorm. But goodness no, it’s not all about the past. The reason these moments are so memorable is because I was completely and utterly present for them. I was fully alive and enraptured by the simple beauty of the moment: stumbling upon a secret patch of wildflowers, my canoe paddle dipping into still water, or having my hair tangled from swimming in the hot summer creek. 

I created How to Be a Wildflower as a reminder to take note of this beauty and magic that surrounds us — To harness the present moment and savor all the rich simplicity that abounds… if only we can open our eyes and hearts to it. 

I believe this art of savoring bloomed from my rural Illinois roots. As a child, I was constantly enveloped and embraced by nature. It was easy and natural to be present. There would be daily tromps through cornfields to the creek, hours spent gazing up at cloud animals, half-afternoons of plucking 4-leaf clovers from the yard, nights filled with coyote howls and stargazing… it was a beautiful and wonder-filled existence. As an adult, I can see this same wonder in my son's eyes as he watches a caterpillar or studies a single leaf.

I almost lost sight of this magic upon moving to Minneapolis to go to college. I was eager to start a new chapter, but I dreaded moving to a big city, away from the fields and rivers I’d known as home. What I didn’t know at the time was how the move would only strengthen my love for nature and uncover the fact that it is absolutely necessary for my well-being and creativity. I was soon taking note of all of the natural beauty within the city: the Icelandic poppies that sprouted up nearby the coffee shop every spring, the huge oak trees across from my apartment, or the lush ivy that created a screen across my windows. Beauty was everywhere once I opened my eyes to it. 

I’ve since moved some 2,000 miles away from my hometown and have experienced the most jaw-dropping, epic sights in nature. From cliffside sunsets on the Pacific Ocean, or standing so tiny beneath giant Sequoias. I’ve also encountered smaller, simpler bits of beauty, which are arguably just as grand as the sweeping views and giant trees. 

How to Be a Wildflower is full of these simple, yet magical things to take note of… ways to find that magic, ways to keep that magic, and ways to make that magic useful in your everyday life. 

The world is so full of noise and chaos that we must often find a way to retreat and recharge to a simpler way of life. We need to get back to these beautiful sacred spaces among the trees and tall grass and summer rainstorms. We need to remember that life is still beautiful and still sacred. We must not lose our eyes for seeing all the wonder that surrounds us. 

It is my greatest hope that my book will be your field guide to uncovering beauty and creating your own type of magic in life. We all have this ability inside of us. Some of us use it on a daily basis, and others might need to find it again. But I do know, deep in my heart, that it’s there.

Life gives us daily opportunities to be enchanted by our surroundings. Let's make a vow to notice this beauty and live in awe. 

Here's to 
many adventures,
miles of wildflowers,
& being completely overwhelmed with joy.

Katie Daisy

Purchase How to Be a Wildflower here. Published by Chronicle Books.

How to be a Wildflower Book Trailer from Gabriel James on Vimeo.