Key Largo cotton mouse endangered species life jacket
The heart of an adventurer, the soul of a poet,
and the body of the Pillsbury Doughboy
Diane Schirf at Illinois Beach State Park

I grew up in Hamburg, New York, south of Buffalo, with parents from the central Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Thanks to my local public library and a 5-cent manila paper library card with my name typewritten on it, I absorbed the works of Agatha Christie, Arthur C. Clarke, Charles Dickens, and T. H. White at an impressionable age.

After studying the Anglo-Saxons, Eastern thought, music appreciation and a failed attempt at music theory, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Malory, Latin American and Russian literature, silent film, modern drama, and a smattering of British and American history, I graduated on a Saturday in 1983 from the University of Chicago with a bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature.

I had no idea or plan for what to do or where to go on Monday.

By day I manage people and communications. On weekends when I can, I point an iPhone and a Nikon D7100 with image sensor spots at nature and sometimes surprise myself.

— Diane Schirf

My life has been steeped in loneliness, Mr. Smithson. As if it has been been ordained that I shall never form a friendship with an equal, never inhabit my own home, never see the world except as the generality to which I must be the exception.

John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman