“Unlike Darwin, who returned from his voyage around the world and never left home again, Wallace exemplified the belief that there was something about the natural world that transcended any theory one might devise about it. One simply had to be there. This is the collector’s credo, and it is even more the birdwatcher’s. Being out in the field isn’t a means to an end, it is itself the end. It is bound up with what Wallace Stevens called ‘mere being,’ when he described a bird sitting in the palm at the end of the mind, beyond all thought or reason.” —
Jonathan Rosen, The Life of the Skies
On Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist who arrived at his own theory of evolution, prompting Darwin to publish On the Origin of the Species after agonizing over it for two decades.