Many years ago (22 to be exact), I moved to Knoxville, TN. The reason isn't very important anymore, let's just say there was a guy involved, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I worked for an advertising agency. The art director at the time, Stephen Lyn Bales (we all called him Lyn), became a very dear friend of mine. He grew up in Gatlinburg, TN and loved the outdoors. He started out as a photographer then moved on to Graphic Design. He was so talented. His drawing table (this was before we used computers in graphic design) was in his office surrounded by small toys he collected, wildlife photos, plants and other interesting objects. We all found ourselves at some point each day taking a few minutes in his office to talk to him. He was always interested in listening and always had something to share. We used to take walks on our lunch break when the weather was nice. Although he didn't own the company, he seemed to be the core of it.
Many times over the 5 years I knew him he talked about writing a book about Tennessee. His family had deep roots there. He knew many stories. He was a bird watcher, conservationist with a little bit of the 1960's still in him. He now works at the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, TN.
We have exchanged Christmas cards for the 16 years since I left Tennessee. There have been a few calls here and there, but they have tapered off. Occasionally I google his name just to see if he is still out there writing a column for the local paper and working at Ijams. Recently I googled him and found that he had written and published a book on TN Nature and History. He also made all of the illustrations in the book, including the one above. I was so thrilled for him. He talked many times of wanting to do this. I haven't gotten the book yet, it's on my Christmas list. But I wanted to share this little bit of information with you. I know the book will be well written and worthy of reading.
I miss my Tennessee friends, I haven't been back since I left. Maybe someday I will stop by Lyn's house and get him to autograph my copy.