Happy, Smart, but Still Fascinated

I was listening several days ago to a short program on KXCI, a weekly feature called "Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey". Petey is the real deal, a unique talent in residence at KXCI, the local community radio station. Every 5-minute or so episode of his show he tells a brief story about some experience he had recently out in the outdoors and what plants or animals he encountered. It might be discussing his trek out to find a christmas tree, or the blooming of some special flower, or finding some strange bug. I've listened to him several times, and even attended a live appearance he did in town, though I've not followed him obsessively or anything.

But last week I realized what makes him so unique: he's a combination of 3 characteristics that no one else I've encountered in the field (of nature writing) really brings together:
1) He obviously knows his subject. He can name the latin names of every organism he comes across, and talks extensively about the details of its appearance, behavior, life cycle, etc.
2) Despite this extensive knowledge, he is REALLY EXCITED and intrigued about everything he talks about and does, and has a deep emotional and spiritual connection to nature.
3) He's happy and optimistic about it all.

This is pretty exceptional. Many writers and thinkers about nature know the science, but are cold and clinical about nature. Others have this (occasionally wackadoo) spiritual link going on but they don't know the details, the science. And some even have both of these but they look at it all through a dark lens of "it's all going away and doomed, isn't that sad. we're fucked." Charles Bowden or Ed Abbey are good examples of the latter. They know their stuff, they feel it too, but where they go with it is pessimistic and negative.

Petey, though, somehow avoids that trap and just exalts in the beauty and simple pleasures of the outdoors.

I think this kind of take on things is really really important. People must know the threats, but they also must be inspired to simple enjoy. Otherwise, the only response can be to throw up one's hands in hopelessness.