I'm a nerd, plain and simple. I like facts of all sorts and kinds. Facts about maps, facts about the distance between stars, facts about Peruvian llamas, facts about farm policy. As a child I read fact books before I drifted off to sleep. I might not have been the fastest kid or the cutest, but I did know lots of things about lots of stuff.
Unfortunately, as I've aged I've come to see a lacking in my education. I could talk to you for hours about the formation of mountains and the water cycle and the dominance of ferns during the age of dinosaurs. However, during a walk in the woods I wouldn't be able to tell an elm from an ash. The difference between a hydrangea from and a rhodendrum is greek to me. Socrates was done in by hemlock, but I couldn't tell you if I was eating a hemlock leaf right now.
This new awareness comes from my reading of Roger Deakin's Wildwood. In this fantastic book he traces his journey through his local (and far off) wood. And with me he is leading a blind man.