The forest was my playground. The people of my country suffered greatly under communist rule when I was a child. As hard as life was at that time, I was very fortunate. I grew up in the forest. My Father worked as a Forest Ranger, he was in charge of administering and protecting 1000 hectors of forest. Nobody was allowed in this forest, as it was off-limits to all except the countries communist ruler. General Secretary Ceausesu and his wife would visit every year to hunt and camp. We lived in a small house in the middle of the forest and were self-sufficient.
As a young girl, my parents encouraged me to learn about nature for myself. I spent most of my days exploring. I loved my forest. The animals, birds, trees, grass, rivers and lakes were my constant playmates. I observed the seasons, new life and death, I watched the grass grow, I watched the waters flow, I watched the stars at night and saw violent storms. I saw how the rocks, wind, water, sky, animals, plants and insects interacted together. I could feel energy flowing from the nature around me and I slowly learned that all of nature is connected. Up to this point I had very little interaction with anyone from the outside. I had a free mind and spirit and had not been programed by society. The forest provided everything we needed. I was rich in the things that really matter then, but many years would pass before I realized it.