Seasons Flowing with the Waters of Bradford Creek

I’ll begin with the broad lesson I draw from these photos and reflections:

Just as the waters of Bradford Creek flow ceaselessly seaward, Nature’s seasons advance reliably day after day, annually completing a full cycle. So too do the seasons of our lives pass year after year.

Seasonal Progress Across Geography

I published a Blog Post June 5, 2018, chronicling the advance of spring across a 660-mile south-to-north road transect from Madison, Alabama to just north of Pittsburgh, PA: https://stevejonesgbh.com/2018/06/05/six-hundred-sixty-mile-transect/. Elevation and latitude are powerful variables controlling spring’s inexorable trip northward.

Yet we don’t need to travel to observe seasonal shifts. I offer here my observations at a fixed place (nearby Bradford Creek) from October 12, 2019 (climatically very late summer here in north Alabama) through the end of May, 2020 (early summer here). Keep in mind that my characterization of climatic season is based upon a life perspective across thirteen career-driven interstate moves, including stays in upstate New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, western Maryland, and Alaska, as well as Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama..

Seasons Flowing with the Waters of Bradford Creek

October 14 in Fairbanks, Alaska (our home for four years) is the autumn date when the average high temperature first rests at freezing. From that point through April 1, the average daily high stays below 32 degrees. I snapped the photo below October 12, three weeks ahead of Huntsville’s average date of first freezing temperature (November 2). Snow had already fallen in Fairbanks by October 12 each of the four autumns we resided there. In fact, first flakes arrived by the end of September. Along Bradford Creek October 12, the hardwoods had begun dropping brown leaves, blanketing the sand and gravel bars. Canopy-greens are fading. In central Interior Alaska, aspen and birch reached full fall color during the first two weeks of September; branches were bare before the fall equinox. Therefore, I do not hesitate to observe that October 12 represents very late summer along Bradford Creek.

Bradford Creek

 

By November 5 the mood had changed. Still a lot of leaves clinging above. Greens weakening to yellow-brown. More fall than summer, yet clearly short of winter.

Bradford Creek

 

By December 4, I am willing to declare winter-like. A few residual main canopy brown leaves, some which will persist until spring leaf-out. Bradford Creek flowing gently, evidencing that seasonal rains had not yet begun to return creek levels to typical winter flush.

Bradford Creek

 

Ah, by December 28 we have reached deep winter (again, winter is relative), looking nothing here like the Hallmark Card ideal of New England Christmas cards. Bare trees and occasional bank-full flow along the creek.

 

A week later (January 3) Bradford Creek had receded from flood, leaving debris scattered across the trail. Grandson Sam poses on a stranded log. I admit to missing the threat and reality of a classic major north-land snow, yet I continue to embrace the magic of a Gulf-fed deluge over a couple of days, triggered by a low pressure system encountering an attempt by winter to surge southward.

Local Greenways

 

For two reasons I skipped ahead to the spring equinox (March 22). First, I don’t venture out on the trail often during the wet and chill of winter. Second, the seasons don’t progress much during January and February. By this point stream-side green is bursting and the canopy is evidencing bud break. Spring has sprung! In contrast, one of our Fairbanks year we experienced a high of one-degree below zero April 1, no fooling!

Bradford Creek

 

And from the webcam on our University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, here is the image taken at the spring equinox 2020. Still a snowpack of nearly three feet. Bud break remains a distant dream. Spring has not sprung, except as a point on the calendar.

West Ridge Webcam

 

Spring along Bradford Creek soon surges… explodes. By April 4 light green dominates.

Bradford Creek

 

Within the next few days, greens deepen and shade begins to grace the forest floor.

Bradford Creek

 

By April 26 the mood gives faint evidence of the winter just ending. I consider this full-spring, deep spring if you will.

 

Even the understory shrubs and herbaceous perennials are in full leaf by May 5.

Bradford Creek

 

May 19, by any standards and criteria I might select, we are squarely in what I would characterize as early summer!

Bradford CreekBradford Creek

 

Aldo Leopold famously captured the flow of seasons on his Wisconsin property seventy years ago in his timeless classic, A Sand County Almanac. I don’t suggest that this brief photo essay is on par with Leopold’s near poetic, deeply philosophical, and scientifically spot-on musings. However, I do hope that my photo and reflective journey along nearby Bradford Creek from October through May does in some small way enlighten, inform, and inspire readers to appreciate, value, and enjoy the magic of local wildness across the seasons.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

The fundamental truth I draw from this Blog Post: Just as the waters of Bradford Creek flow ceaselessly seaward, Nature’s seasons advance reliably day after day, annually completing a full cycle. So too do the seasons of our lives pass year after year.

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://eepurl.com/cKLJdL

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

My Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's Books

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Spring Green-up

We’re now nearly 11 weeks beyond the call to distance safely from our circle of friends, family, and associates. Judy and I speak of being under Covid-19 house-arrest. We continue our daily neighborhood walks. In addition, I escape as often as I can to local trail-hiking and greenway-biking. I prepared this Post after a Spring Equinox trip to nearby Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, biking on gravel roads.

Covid-19 Context

We were in the heart of spring green-up as I first drafted this Covid-19 Context section. A sad irony that Nature’s cycle goes forward unabated by a pandemic virus that found life (and wrought disease and death) half a world away. A primitive micro-organism that has turned modern global society and economy inside-out.

I subscribe to the EarthSky electronic newsletter (https://earthsky.org/). The March 31, 2020 issue reminded readers of this quote from the 3rd book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings: “There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” God’s green Earth…Nature…and our relationship to it is our light and high beauty… our hope.

I believe sincerely that this, too, shall pass. Already I sense a fundamental change in the world — a deepening humility, a greater recognition of our human frailty, and perhaps a strengthened belief in our oneness. I can’t speak for others, but I accept my own growing spiritualism, more palpable Faith, and an even stronger sacred connection to our Earth, this pale blue orb in the vast darkness of space.

A Wet Spring

 

By the equinox my backyard rain gauge had registered some 27″ year-to-date. That’s a tremendous amount of water — 49 percent of annual in just the first 22-percent of 2020. More water than the Tennessee River, America’s 12th largest by volume, could contain within its banks. I parked within the Refuge along a gravel road (Jolley B Road) near Blackwell Swamp along the Madison/Limestone County line. The parking area is about a half-mile beyond the Refuge sign below. The temperature rose to near-60 degrees on a sky-perfect early-spring day. Canopy greens signal that full-spring lies just ahead.

Spring 2020

 

High water blocked roads that I readily explored six weeks later. Herbaceous vegetation already greened road shoulders. Main canopy trees sprouted fresh new foliage and pollen-loaded flowers. The flooded roads offered promise of future ventures. The saturated spring would in time transition to summer when occasional rains, while normally reliable, come in rounds of thunderstorms with abundant sunshine, heat, and drying between.

Spring 2020Spring 2020

 

This trip amounted to a mileage teaser. I covered only ten miles, mostly repeating some stretches and turning around at each overflow.

Spring 2020

 

I am not deterred, knowing that adventure and full exploration lie ahead.

Trees Springing Forth

 

Powerful hydro-pumps are emerging from countless bursting buds… millions (no, billions) of them that will lift water from soil high into lofty tree crowns. These ironwood (Ostrya vinginiana) leaves need only pump 20-30 feet, the terminal height of this shade tolerant understory (and occasional mid-story) species. Yet, in turn, each tree, shrub, and forest floor species does its part to return what water doesn’t drain into the river to the atmosphere. The hydrologic cycle has many participants that in aggregate amount to an effective global symphony of water vapor, liquid, and ice. The cycle writes its language across the Earth.

County Line S

Earth Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rich riparian soils support some trees reaching 120-feet, a literal high demand on the capillary pumping fueled by plant transpiration. By the equinox, green-up is in full swing.

County Line S

County Line S

 

Just six weeks later (May 3), when I returned, the Refuge showed nearly full-leaf.

Blackwell Swamp

 

I can’t help but throw in a March 29, 2020 scene (pardon the quality; it’s a photo of a screen shot) from the webcam at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where I served as Chancellor (President) 2004-2008. Not much spring-greening apparent!

West Ridge Webcam

 

Spring is a season… not just a date on the calendar!

 

Tree Form Oddities

Pedaling slowly along the gravel roads (and their frequent muddy and puddled stretches), I was able to visually scour the adjacent deep forest, seeking tree form oddities, wildflowers, and even edible mushrooms. Both of these ironwood individuals below had seen physical damage (a large branch or tree falling on the growing stem), and then recovered with new shoots reaching once again vertically.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

This odd burl (below left) reminded me of a wolf or dragon — I see forehead, eye, nostril, and mouth clearly. No wonder that our forests spur stories of mythical creatures and beings. Below right, from an 180-degree different perspective, I saw nothing beyond a disfigured proboscis.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

The burl is growing on a very much alive main-canopy oak, yet death resides commonly within the living forest.

Life and Death in the Forest

A large dominant overstory oak still stands below left. Gravity and decay will soon (certainly within the decade) bring it to ground, where it will return to the soil. Two dead upper canopy loblolly pines likewise remain standing below right. I look for them to be horizontal within five years. Agents of decay are working feverishly and without pause.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

The fate of all life is death — such is the cycle of life and death in the living forest.

County Line S

 

Fungus Among Us

 

I graduated from forestry school when fungi appeared in botany books… they were viewed as non-flowering plants. Yet now fungi are classified as neither plant nor animal, belonging instead to the Fungi Kingdom. Ah, the things one learns observing Nature and publishing these Blog Posts! These organisms are ubiquitous across our northern Alabama forests. False turkey-tail (Stereum ostrea) are abundant saprophytes.

County Line S

 

Coral-pink Merulius (Phlebia incarnata) added a touch of fungal color.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

And to my absolute delight I found a remarkable lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus), a culinary delight, just one-quarter mile from where I parked. I transported it in my bike helmet, which it filled.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

Egg-battered, lightly floured, and fried in butter and olive oil with a bit of seasoning salt, lion’s mane is simply delectable!

County Line SCOunty Line S

 

Who could ask for anything more — a treat for the ardent Nature-observer?! I gave thanks for the beauty and bounty. No wonder I feel a spiritual connection to wildness — it sustains me in mind, heart, body, soul, and spirit!

Non-Flowering Plants Edible

 

Wildflower Inspiration

 

Spring ephemerals were rushing into flower during this shoulder season prior to main canopy leaf-out. They thrive during the warming days when nearly full sun still blesses the forest floor. Bulbous Cress (Cardamine bulbosa) appeared in full flower at woods edge.

County Line S

 

Mountain azalea (Rhododendron canescens), one of my north Alabama favorites, presents beauty in pure form and full measure!

County Line S

County Line S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) appeared in profusion, although only a few had progressed to open flowers.

COunty Line S

 

I saw only a handful of eastern bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana), yet one would have been sufficient to reward my efforts and venture.

County Line S

 

Wild comfrey (Andersonglossum virginianum) offered only a few blossoms. Even this one, more advanced than most, did not yet show open petals.

County Line SCounty Line S

 

Blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) also graced the otherwise nearly barren forest floor.

County Line S

 

I packed enough reward and satisfaction into my three-hour wanderings to draft 3-4 spring equinox Blog Posts. However, because I am finalizing these words two-months later, I tried hard to squeeze into this one offering. Nature is so rich with beauty, magic, wonder, and awe that each journey provides more than I can easily digest, translate, and communicate. My cup does indeed runneth over. ‘Tis the season of Nature’s plenty. I am unable to do more than scratch her surface.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the three succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Spring is the season of Nature’s plenty
  2. Nature’s power to lift us and heal us, physically and of the soul, is unlimited
  3. Nature is so rich with beauty, magic, wonder, and awe that each venture into wildness provides more than I can easily digest, translate, and communicate

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://eepurl.com/cKLJdL

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's BooksSpring 2020

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

 

Earth Day Visit to the Cathedral Forest along the Wells Memorial Trail at Monte Sano State Park

Earth Day (April 22, 2020) Judy and I (along with 12-year-old grandson Jack) hiked Sinks, Keith, and Wells Memorial Trails at Monte Sano State Park. Because we were continuing to deal with Covid-19 restrictions, Jack sat in the third-row SUV seat and all of us wore face masks while in the vehicle. On the trails we peeled our masks and maintained social distance. I’ve written and published several times on the Wells Memorial Trail…my favorite Monte Sano trail because of its special quality and rich cove site and cathedral forest. Here is my December 4, 2019 Wells Post: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2019/12/04/memory-and-legacy-for-a-sailor-and-hero/

You’ll see below why I feel a sacred connection to the Wells Trail. I’m a softy for rich sites, towering hardwoods, and a throwback to old growth forest conditions. My doctoral research in the mid-eighties evaluated soil-site conditions in the ninety-or-so-year-old second-growth Allegheny hardwood forests of southwest New York and northwest Pennsylvania. That is, I related forest productivity to a suite of quantifiable soil and site factors, such as slope steepness, slope position, slope shape, aspect, and soil depth and texture. Now 470 miles south of my research area, some of the same site quality relationships hold. Here are a few that relate to the Wells site richness:

  • Concave slope shape
  • Lower slope position
  • Deep soil
  • Sheltered location

Let’s examine the photo evidence.

Cathedral Forest

 

I recall the little guy when he stood barley taller than knee-high; I no longer tower above him. He’ll reach taller than I soon enough. So much, including tree tops more than a hundred feet above us, to remind me of my relative insignificance in the sweep of time and the grandeur of place. Such a powerful lesson in humility… watching a grandchild pass so quickly from toddler to near-teenager, and standing together within a forest cathedral.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stroll through the forest… and race through time. I’ve often quoted Bernard Malamud (The Natural), “We have two lives… the life we learn with and the life we live after that.” I admit that I am in that second life. Though still learning, I am busy sorting, applying, and reflecting upon what I learned during those first six decades. Life seemed to be all-consuming when we were living the child-raising and career-advancing period. We focused on what lay ahead, each day taking us closer. Today, in this second life, now is what matters most. I tend more toward the brake and less on the gas pedal. Acceleration to what lies ahead is of no interest. I want to sit in the forest, inhale its essence, dream a bit, and marvel at its supreme beauty, magic, wonder, and awe.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

And who could not feel sacred connection to these towering yellow poplars? Sure, I’ve been to the redwood groves, the coastal Douglas fir Pacific Northwest rain forests, and stood shaken beneath Yosemite’s giant sequoias. Admittedly even our grandest eastern hardwood forests pale in comparison to those globally significant ancient forests. However, I’ve disciplined myself to partition those impressions, refusing to hold those exemplars as the scale against which I gauge forest appreciation.

I recall standing along the track during practice rounds for a pro-amateur track meet during my Penn State faculty days. I watched and listened as D-I university high-hurdlers blasted past, with heavy breathing, pounding footfalls, and heels tipping the hurdles. I then stood in awe as former world record holder for 110-meters Renaldo Nehemiah approached at full speed… silently and without apparent effort, floating over the hurdles, feet seeming not to hit the track surface. How could I ever enjoy another hurdles competition if I judged all against the super human Nehemiah?

Similarly, I consumed fresh world-renowned salmon and halibut often when we lived in Alaska. Upon returning to the lower 48, we did not eat domestic, non-Alaska salmon and halibut for a couple of years, our standards too discriminating. However, after a period of re-calibrating, I once more enjoy eastern USA salmon and halibut.

So it is with our eastern USA hardwood forests. I stand among the Wells Trail poplars and oaks, absorbing their magnificence, transported emotionally and spiritually, lifted to full appreciation and reverence. My connection is sacred. My soul soars. I thank god for Nature’s exquisite inspiration. I apply Teddy Roosevelt’s wisdom to appreciating Nature, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” I accept what they are… their glory where they are… without holding them to a redwood or sequoia standard.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

These lofty sylvan citizens are right here at Monte Sano State Park, just 30 minutes from my home. The nearest redwoods, sequoia, and Douglas fir are a continent away.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

I consider the Wells cathedral forest as transitioning into old growth status, yet I know these are second-growth forests. The wind-toppled hickory below blocked the trail within the past year. The trail crew cut through the trunk this past winter to reopen the path without diversion. I stopped to make a very rough ring count, difficult without a hand lens. Some squirrel buried the source hickory nut 150-200 years ago, a point in time when the General Sherman (a sequoia, the world’s largest living tree) was already 2,000 years old. Now that’s old!

Monte Sano

Wells Trail Monte Sano

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I interrupt this Post with an Alert. I revisited Wells Trail May 12, 2020 and discovered yet another large hickory (three-foot diameter) uprooted, within 200 feet of the one above. This second individual stood just 15 feet off the trail. It has fallen since my prior visit, likely toppling with the high winds that passed through north Alabama just a week or so ago. It fell parallel (withing 10 degrees) of its predecessor. In fact, I wondered whether the huge canopy vacancy left by the other may have contributed, the void allowing this new victim to lean further in that direction absent the physical support of the first, surpassing a leverage threshold beyond which the roots could hold.

Monte Sano Wells TrailMonte Sano Wells Trail

 

 

 

 

As I’ve repeated time and time again, nothing in Nature is static. Now back to my Earth Day photos and reflections:

In the Wells stand, even chestnut oak, more commonly a scruffy ridge-top resident, grows fat, straight, and tall.

Monte Sano

 

But all along the Trail  is not towering trees. As I’ve commented often, I do not limit my discoveries to the regal few. Instead, I seek the unusual… the tree form oddities that catch my eye and stimulate my imagination. I offer a little sleuthing to explain the peculiar.

Tree Form Oddities

Sugar maple, the New England species of Maple syrup fame, persists into our north Alabama Appalachian forests, but not often as a main canopy occupant. I see it mostly as an understory component, occasionally reaching into the intermediate canopy. Such individuals aren’t younger trees newly developed in the forest shade. They are likely the same age as the dominant upper story poplars, oak, and hickories on Monte Sano. They are shade tolerant, persisting for decades in deep shade, awaiting some main canopy disturbance to afford greater sunlight and an opportunity to reach skyward. This gnarled, twisted, and tortured sapling will never reach toward the heavens. Perhaps a tree or large branch fell from above scarring this individual. The damage is clearly physical. Not a grave wound, just one that will mark it for life and limit its future.

Monte Sano

 

Imagine the yellow poplar below left with an adjacent twin perhaps two decades ago. Now picture the twin breaking away about two feet above ground from wind or an ice load. Due to its living union with the remaining twin, the stump’s distal side remained alive without benefit of its own canopy. It continues to grow, and in combination with the residual tree is callousing over the wound. Within the next decade, the surviving twin will have an oddly-seamed base, but will otherwise appear intact, the scar and damage hidden from view. Only the astute aware observer will read the external evidence to trace a history written in the foreign language of scar tissue. Similarly the two-foot diameter, calloused stump ring below right belies the reality of a long-broken-off yellow poplar individual. The stump remains alive courtesy of root union with the poplar three-feet out of view beyond the photo’s right margin. See the yellow poplar stump suckers on the left rim. Every thing in Nature tells a story to those who know the language of interpretation.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

I slipped a leafed-twig of this redbud at the branch union to serve as tree identification. This gnarly burl evidences a somewhat benign infectious agent. I say “somewhat” because while the burl itself is not fatal, it is modifying structural strength and may ultimately lead to breakage at what I suppose is a point of weakness.

Monte Sano

 

This twin sugar maple has collected enough organic debris in the fork that three violet plants have sprouted. Nature does indeed abhor a vacuum.

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

I discovered my first African mask along the Wells Trail. From the Artyfactory website, “African masks should be seen as part of a ceremonial costume. They are used in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. They come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion. Some combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature is of great importance to the African and through the ages masks have always been used to express this relationship.” I already felt united with this natural environment… the union deepened and strengthened when I read the description. I am obsessed with (and possessed by) the spirit of the Wells cathedral forest.

Monte Sano

 

I can imagine that all of the Monte Sano burls contain elements of spirit-essence. I may return some dark night to witness whether “They come to life, possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion.”

Monte SanoMonte Sano

 

I know I’ll not be visiting these woods on a snowy evening, yet I see some of the same level of mystery and even a touch of foreboding that Robert Frost hinted in his often-quoted poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923)

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy winds and downy flake.

The woods are lovely dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the two succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe are place-sensitive.
  2. Magnificence draws from a relative scale — the sequoia forest is not the standard for appreciating all forests.

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts:  http://eepurl.com/cKLJdL

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's Books

Photos of Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

 

 

Acorn Rondeau

Acorn Rondeau

I am NOT a poet, yet I enjoy the magic of words. Winter quarter I completed a beginner’s poetry-writing course at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Here’s the poem I wrote for a class assignment:

 

Acorn Rondeau (Rondeau is a kind of poem that ends where it began)

 

An acorn drops, tumbles to earth

Fortuitous landing, a place for birth,

 

Avoids predation, readies to launch

Cotyledons burst through its pericarp

 

Sunlight enters the factory doors

Chloroplasts ignite, machinery roars,

 

Season after season, patience and toil

Roots explore darkness, embrace the soil

 

Foot by foot, skyward bound

Solid and steady, anchored to ground

 

A century of summers — oh Mighty Oak!

An acorn drops, tumbles to earth

Fortuitous landing, a place for birth

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The poem speaks to the cycle of life and living, generation after generation. I have many relevant photos – here are my two Alabama grandsons standing recently by a 52-inch diameter white oak at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Wheeler NWR

 

And another big white oak with grandson Sam at Wheeler Refuge:

Non-flowering Plants

 

And a proud red oak along Monte Sano State Park’s North Plateau Trail.

Monte Sano STate Park

 

And a massive towering white oak at Joe Wheeler State Park.

Joe Wheeler

 

A century of summers — oh Mighty Oak!

An acorn drops, tumbles to earth

Fortuitous landing, a place for birth

Bradford Creek

 

Season after season, patience and toil

Roots explore darkness, embrace the soil

Foot by foot, skyward bound

Solid and steady, anchored to ground

Monte Sano

 

Even though I confess that word play in verse is stimulating and enjoyable, don’t look for Steve’s Book of Nature Poetry any time soon!

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Photos of Steve

 

I like to imagine that representative samples of my books appreciate accompanying me into the woods. So far, none has complained nor groaned. You guessed it, that’s my books and me above standing in front of a white oak.

A century of summers — oh Mighty Oak!

An acorn drops, tumbles to earth

Fortuitous landing, a place for birth

Knowing that I am getting way out in front of remote possibility, perhaps there is a book of Steve’s Nature-Inspired Life and Living Poetry awaiting me around the corner of some forested trail!

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

Knowing that I am getting way out in front of remote possibility, perhaps there is a book of Steve’s Nature-Inspired Life and Living Poetry awaiting me around the corner of some forested trail!

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

Introducing Nature’s Richness to Residents of Wellpoint Assisted Living

May 7, 2020 I led a Facebook Live virtual tour along Big Cove Creek Greenway just north of Hays Preserve. Residences at Wellpoint, a new assisted living community just a mile from where I led the tour, produced the video.

My personal goal includes reaching out to multiple audiences… from K-12 across the lifespan to senior citizens, who like Wellpoint residents, wish to experience life fully well into retirement. My dedicated retirement mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

I am ever-more convinced that Nature is an essential variable in the equation for living meaningfully into the liberating stage of life called retirement. I speak from personal experience!

Please watch the 20-minute video: https://www.facebook.com/residencesatwellpoint/videos/1731492206989805/

Just a Sampling of What We Viewed

 

I strolled just 250 feet along the greenway during our 20 minutes, pointing out well over 25 plant species, many of them in flower. Without elaboration, below is a modest sampling.

Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) and Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus).

Big Cove CreekBig Cove Creek

 

Floating primrose-willow (Ludwigia peploides) and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).

Big Cove CreekBig Cove Creek

 

Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre) and butterweed (Packera glabella).

Big Cove CreekBig Cove Creek

 

Field madder (Sherardia arvensis).

Big Cove Creek

 

Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), an Asian import, and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).

Big Cove CreekBig Cove Creek

 

Nature is amazing… and amazingly accessible. I found all this rich beauty, magic, wonder, and awe along a tiny segment of a paved greenway just a short van ride from an assisted living community. The campus will eventually house nearly 200 senior residents seeking some level of immersion in Nature. What a great audience to engage and involve in my Earth Stewardship venture.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the three succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Each venture into Nature opens my eyes ever more keenly to discovering her secrets
  2. Nature is an essential variable in the equation for living meaningfully into the liberating stage of life called retirement.
  3. Nature hides richness within plain sight

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://eepurl.com/cKLJdL

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's BooksBig Cove Creek

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

A Covid-19 Escape Hike — Inspiration from Nature’s Curiosities

I published a previous Post (including one of my poems) based upon my March 21, 2020 Covid-19 hike at nearby Rainbow Mountain Preserve: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/24/resurrection-fern-a-metaphor-in-verse-for-natures-simplicity/ I focused that Post on the wondrous nature of resurrection fern. I subsequently issued a Post on spring wildflowers I encountered on that same spring equinox hike: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/04/27/a-covid-19-escape-hike-wildflower-lift/

A lot more than resurrection fern and wildflowers impressed me on that several-hour leisurely hike through the preserve.

Rainbow Mountain

 

No matter where or when I ramble through Nature I search for the unusual shapes, forms, and curiosities. I included this photo in that prior Post, focusing then on the still-living contorted eastern red cedar’s (Juniperus virginiana) resurrection fern drapery. I now puzzle with how the cedar managed to get in the shape it’s in. I see no direct evidence of physical injury, yet I know the tree had no reason to independently contort itself. Often when I encounter odd tree forms I can construct a scenario to explain, usually finding causal evidence. I can only offer that this specimen brought to mind some alien creature from Men In Black! Seriously, this ridge top has seen human influence for more than a century. The abundant cedar, an early successional pioneer species, suggests that what is now closed forest may have been pastured, then abandoned and naturally transitioned to forest. This individual, long ago a supple sapling, may have been manipulated (bent/doubled over) for some reason not now apparent.

Rainbow Mountain, Resurrection Fern

 

As I said, cedar is a major stand component across the upper elevations of Rainbow Mountain. Much of it is dead and dying, including this face (showing its dead and decaying interior wood) of the larger of these two living cedar. I found fascination in its agonized (my impression) branching,  with its deep red exposed decaying heart. I imagined that in its dying throes the tree is reaching out with brittle and bare arms to beseech help. I may have communicated false hope when I stopped to snap a few photos. Had I been hiking in evening’s gloaming, I may have steered away from those grasping arms. I recall my early career days as a forest products industry forester, who found sheer joy and reward in viewing standing trees through my commercial lens: assessing number of 16-foot logs; potential lumber yield; and dollar value. I still admire a tall, straight bole without apparent defect. But at this stage of life, I register value mostly through my lenses of emotion, aesthetics, art, heart, spirit, and soul… a sort of sacred value metric.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Offering high visual reward, here are twin dead stems of the original cedar successional stage. Longer-lived oaks and hickories are now the dominant main canopy species. Nothing unusual about dead and dying trees within even healthy forest stands. Death and life go hand in hand; nothing in Nature is static. Because cedar is naturally decay resistant (sure, it decays but just takes a lot longer), its dead soldiers remain standing sometimes for decades, providing many persistent ghost trees… marvels for my camera and fuel for my imagination.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Not just Cedar Tree Curiosities

But cedar served as just one dimension of the curiosities I encountered. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland, “Curiouser and curiouser! Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English.”

I encountered magnificent works of pure art, crafted by Nature’s hands. I am sure that a mere human would find challenge in creating the trail-side decayed stump sculpture. I could not discern whether this tree had been cut or the stem toppled by wind or ice. Because it is hollow I will assume breakage either before or after its death. Electing not to defile its beauty, I did not attempt with knife or foot to ascertain wood/species identity. I am satisfied with simply dubbing it the mossy stump sculpture.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

Trees suffer physical injury from multiple causes, including: ice and snow load breakage; wind; a nearby tree or branch falling. Trees have endured such damage since the first tree rose above the brush. They begin immediately compartmentalizing the wound to limit penetration by agents of decay, usually fungi. The first line of defense is chemical. Longer term the tree stimulates adjoining cambial tissue to callous over the injury. Below are two examples from that hike of oak trees combating serious injury. The coat-hook stub below left is about eight feet above ground. The resurrection fern hanging garden perches on a similarly-healed stub at about twenty feet. The old timber forester residing within me would have viewed both oaks as marginally merchantable due to poor stem form and apparent quality defects. The now-retired forest/naturalist sees an entirely different value metric. The metric gives high weight to a curiosity factor!

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain, Resurrection Fern

 

Some trees provoke fear and terror. I dared not stand too long near this sign-eating hickory. Perhaps the moss infuses some evil elixir, stimulating a hunger for the metal placard. Maybe the soil is deficient in some minerals derived from the sign. Or the tree could be of superior intellect starving for the written word. No matter what prompted this absorbing behavior, the forest is rich with curiosities that enrich any Nature venture.

Rainbow Mountain

 

And I just can’t get enough of our ubiquitous non-flowering plants! What better than a stem moss carpet with a few scattered lichens! A gentle cushion for my trekking pole. And another such pole support, this one providing anchorage for a vertical resurrection fern garden.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

And this dead cedar stem bedecked with moss, lichens, and resurrection fern. A rich palette of life flourishing on a staff of death. May the circle be unbroken. Could we possibly create such paradox by design and intent? I think not — such is the magic of forest curiosities.

Resurrection Fern

 

Ah, I enjoyed the Nature-dream images of a quiet hike on an early spring morning following a night of soaking rain. Perhaps Rainbow Mountain derives its moniker from resting occasionally at the base of a rainbow. Who knows whether the leprechauns have danced their spells of druid-like curiosities, assisting Nature in weaving magic across the Preserve. Yet, I am not convinced that Rainbow Mountain cultivates a disproportional density of forest curiosities. I find such delight wherever my Nature wanderings take me across this pale blue orb we call home. My secret — believing the magic exists; looking intently for its presence; seeing what to many is hidden in plain sight; feeling the wonder of it all. And then embracing my mission to: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Rainbow Mountain, Resurrection Fern

 

I have kept my sanity during this extended Covid-19 House Arrest by escaping repeatedly into local Nature. I practice recommended social distancing. I enjoy fresh air, discover Nature’s secrets, and contemplate my insignificance in the grand web of life.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the three succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Each venture into Nature opens my eyes ever more keenly to discovering her secrets
  2. Nature’s power to lift us and heal us, physically and of the soul, is unlimited
  3. Nature hides richness within plain sight

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's BooksRainbow Mountain

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

A Covid-19 Escape Hike — Wildflower Lift

Covid-19 Escape

March 21, 2020, in the midst of our societal Covid-19-induced social distancing, I hiked nearby Rainbow Mountain Preserve. I posted March 24 about the spectacular resurrection fern profusion that afternoon at the Preserve just three miles from my front door: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/24/resurrection-fern-a-metaphor-in-verse-for-natures-simplicity/

I saw enough beauty, magic, wonder, and awe to distill to two additional Posts:

  1. This one reviewing the spring wildflowers I encountered
  2. The subsequent one highlighting the curiosities presenting themselves to me

Rather than once again providing the full Land Trust of Northern Alabama background for the Preserve, please visit the March 24 Post.

 

Rainbow Mountain

 

Spring Ephemerals — Hope and Beauty within the Haze of Covid-19

Virginia spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) graced trail-side near the balancing rock just below the southwest rim. Keeping with the same stated theme, within a few feet I found colonies of Virginia saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis), a reliable very early spring bloomer often quite content on shallow soils among such stony outcrops.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

 

 

Two species of trillium greeted me as I began descending the Rainbow Mountain Loop Trail, which continuing counter clockwise would eventually return me to the trail head. Both express green-mottled leaves and what I call purple petals. Persons more color-fully endowed may have a more sophisticated color moniker. I refer to the green-mottled structures as leaves. And although I will continue to do so, I am not technically correct. A USDA Forest website explains:

All trillium species belong to the Liliaceae (lily) family and are rhizomatous herbs with unbranched stems. Trillium plants produce no true leaves or stems above ground. The “stem” is actually just an extension of the horizontal rhizome and produces tiny, scalelike leaves (cataphylls). The aboveground plant is technically a flowering scape, and the leaf-like structures are actually bracts subtending the flower. Despite their morphological origins, the bracts have external and internal structure similar to that of a leaf, function in photosynthesis, and most authors refer to them as leaves.

The first two photos show little sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum), perhaps the most common of all northern Alabama trilliums.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

Similar to little sweet Betsy, twisted trillium (T. stamineum) has clearly twisted sepals. Both species are sessile trilliums. That is, their flowers sit right on the leaves (bracts), without having a stalk. I love the distinct twists, even as I ponder the evolutionary reason. There must be some explanation — a competitive advantage. For now I will leave the pondering to others.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) also graced the forest floor. Also called woodland phlox or wild sweet William, its delicate five-petaled flowers on erect stems provided color in an otherwise drab setting of last season’s leaf debris.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Violet woodsorrel (Oxalis violacea), aka sour glass, sour trefoil, and shamrock, presented itself 2-3 days before the flowers fully opened. The one below right came teasingly close to showing its full beauty.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

I’m a big fan of our ubiquitous northern Alabama red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), also known as firecracker plant, whose range extends across the southern and eastern US.  I love its spring firecracker flowers as well as its wonderful fall buckeyes packaged in tan hulls that split when ripe. Red buckeye is sold as a cultivar across the US and apparently thrives at latitudes far north of its native range.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is another common spring-flowering small tree whose native range extends across the eastern US… from southern Ontario to northern Florida. The tree is an aggressive colonizer, finding a perfect setting along road openings. Redbud’s spring color dominates roadsides where I lived in Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and upstate New York. Redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma. Interestingly, our Alabama state tree, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), is not native to our Tennessee Valley region of northern Alabama.

Rainbow Mountain

 

Another of my early spring favorites, jack-in-the-pulpit (Ariseama triphyllum), also known as bog onion, brown dragon, and wild turnip, enjoys a range across the eastern US… from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota and south into lower Florida. Look closely to see Jack standing at the pulpit under the green-striped hood. The USDA Forest Service offers a technical description of this unusual flower form: Jack-in-the-pulpit is pollinated by small flies and flowers from March through June depending on locale. The flower is an unusual green and maroon striped spathe surrounding a fleshy, maroon-colored spadix that bears the tiny, embedded flowers. This particular example is particularly pale, absent the maroon shades common to the species.

Rainbow Mountain

 

A Different Kind of Spring Wildflower

To this point I’ve focused on what I’ll term as traditional spring wildflowers. The next two photos likewise picture a spring wildflower… but one of an entirely different nature. This is a non-photosynthesizing (achlorophyllous) parasitic plant. Meet American cancer-root (Conopholis americana), nurturing on the roots of oak and beech. Other common names are squawroot and bear corn, either of which is a more pleasant moniker. I suppose this odd plant cares little what name we give it. I found scores of clusters along my route. I recall seeing my first squawroot when I worked undergraduate summers on the Savage River State Forest in far western Maryland, my home state. Imagine the wonder of finding squawroot on a magical Appalachian Mountain forest bearing a name that included Savage! Fact is, I felt absolute continuing beauty, magic, wonder, and awe during every moment of those two summers. Five decades later, the memory and lift remain within my being… mind, heart, and soul. Amazing what Nature has gifted me across my time’s travel. I suppose there is some level of irony in a non-photosynthesizing (achlorophyllous) parasitic plant transporting me fifty years back in time! I wish such pleasant memories and flashbacks for all who trek Nature’s paths.

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the three succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Each venture into Nature opens my eyes ever more keenly to discovering her secrets
  2. Nature’s power to lift us and heal us, physically and of the soul, is unlimited
  3. Nature hides richness within plain sight

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's BooksRainbow Mountain

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

 

Easter Storms — A Covid-19 Corollary

Covid-19 Context

 

I wrote these words the Wednesday after Easter, a day when Covid-19 deaths in the US were at approximately 30,000 (42,000 today), with confirmed cases at 614,000 (787,000 today). We remain under what I term Covid-19 House Arrest. A dire situation, yet I see signs of hope. The new case and hospitalization curves in most places (including New York City) appear to be beyond peak — that is, we have successfully flattened the curves. Deaths are at peak, reflecting the 10-16-day lag beyond new cases. I thought a lot about parallels to Covid-19 as violent Easter Sunday storms raked across the southeastern US with an energetic storm system trailing a cold front ushering record-breaking cold to much of the country.

Here in northern Alabama I measured just under four inches of rain, bringing us to ~44-inches since December 1, 2019! Right here in Madison, AL we endured numerous warnings during the afternoon and evening: Area-wide flood; flash flood; severe thunderstorm; and tornado. Fortunately we suffered little damage beyond several snapped utility poles nearby and eleven hours without power. We had readied our storm shelter, but never retreated into it. Nothing signaled imminent impact; even the tornado warning indicated the funnel in the southern porting of our county. Southwide the system killed 40-plus.

Monday morning, which dawned with full glory and promise, after allowing time for Bradford Creek to ease back into its banks, I headed for the Bradford Creek Greenway to bike. I offer the reader photographs and reflections from the Easter storms and their standing as a metaphor for the savagery of the Covid-19 pandemic. This viral fury, too, will pass, leaving an indelible mark on life and living, and stamping reminders, lessons, and emotional scars into our individual and societal psyche.

Bradford Creek GW

 

Rather than develop a text-packed Post to communicate my reflections, I find it easier to condense my impressions and feelings, expressing all with verse and accompanying photographs:

Easter Storms — Covid-19 Corollary in Verse

.

Easter 2020 dawned forebodingly

Skies dark with threat,

Absent the light of hope, and

The sunshine of resurrection

 

Covid-19 and its own darkness

Cast deep and frightful shadows,

Cancelled Easter gatherings and services

Kept us physically isolated… hug-less

 

 

Now add the ominous threat

Of imminent flooding,

Severe thunderstorms and hail,

High winds and twisters

 

By Easter’s early afternoon

An energetic storm system lifts,

Bringing rain and thunder, and

Storm warnings through late evening

 

Cloud and Sky

 

Pounding, slanting downpours

Snapping lightning; growling thunder,

Frequent new warnings

Storm shelter open and stocked

 

But this time not needed

All slipping east by nightfall,

Threats ebbing with the departure

Easing our minds for sleep

 

Easter Monday dawned with promise

With the full glory of renewal,

An abundance of hope’s light

And the sunshine of resurrection

 

213 Legendwood213 Legendwood

 

 

The storms left their mark

Eleven hours without power,

Others were not so fortunate

More than 40 died southwide

 

Monday morning biking

Along Bradford Creek Greenway

Revealed the clear evidence

Of rain just shy of four inches

Bradford Creek

 

 

Bradford Creek

 

Bradford Creek

 

Like Sunday’s storms,

A literal deluge and whirlwind,

The Covid-19 savagery is passing

Leading to a dawn of glory and promise

 

 

This, too, shall pass. We will emerge stronger for the experience. We have learned that we are all in this together. That we are one with Nature. That even the smallest of life forms, a lowly virus, can change lives. That humility can be soothing salve for the soul and heart, and for our emotional well-being. And most importantly, that the power of Nature’s inspiration (even from an outbreak of severe weather) can lift us toward resurrection and renewal. And, for me, I feel a growing sense of sacred connection to life and living… to what is important and essential. Not just sacred… spiritual as well. The storms and pandemic reinforce my belief that I am nothing. Nothing beyond a small element of a greater whole. Part of Creation… for a brief moment in time.

Thoughts and Reflections

I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature. All three are available on Amazon and other online sources.

Here are the two succinct truths I draw from this Blog Post:

  1. Now is a time to reflect on what is important and essential
  2. Nature always provides lessons for dealing with life and living

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Reward, and Heal you!

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Steve's BooksBradford Creek GW

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

 

 

Fifty Shades of Green

I see cruel irony that as Covid-19 frees time to read, ponder, write, and create, it’s the virus that too often dominates my mind. I sat recently in my doctor’s office parking lot waiting to be summoned to the appointment (a Covid-blessing — no crowded waiting room torment in these days of physical-distancing). A wet cold front had passed earlier that morning, leaving chilly wind and gloomy skies. The light level emphasized green, fractionating to shades seldom otherwise distinguishable.

I’ve concluded over the years that summer evenings, as day fades toward gloaming, the greens grow more intense… ever more vibrant. They seem to rise above nearby colors. Judy and I for years have dubbed it “the green time of evening.” I believe the thick cloud cover that 8:00 AM spring day triggered a “green time of morning.” I haven’t been able to substantiate my green-intensity observation with science.

 

I penned a verse titled Fifty Shades of Green later that day:

Fifty Shades of Green

 

We always hear so much

About autumn’s rich palette,

Forests of multiple hues

Golds, reds, and yellows

 

Yet, look to hillsides when

Winter releases its grip,

A richness of verdant greens

All spring-fresh with promise

 

But my heart in this southern land,

Sees spring as other than promise,

Spring is the real thing, the delivery

Too soon yielding to summer

 

I want spring to linger, holding tight

To cool evenings, chilly morns,

Celebrating new life… longer days,

But a virus intercedes, parasitizing life

 

As Corona cast its shadow

Its darkness dims our spirits,

But Nature pays no heed

Bursting 50 shades of green

 

I refuse to ignore spring’s interlude

Escaping Covid-19 house arrest,

Entering Nature in transition

Relishing 50 shades of green!

 

I don’t need to search long for the fifty shades. Here’s a bonanza of green along nearby Bradford Creek Greenway.

Bradford Creek GW

 

One hundred feet away, the big oak bears a few flowers, back-dropped by a greening riparian canopy.

Bradford Creek

 

Even lush non-flowering plants carry bright robes of greenery — with apologies to Dolly Parton, wearing coats of many colors (all of them shades of green).

Rainbow MountainRainbow Mountain

 

Combine emerging tree and shrub foliage with moss-green rocks and throw in a bit of purple phacelia — a viriscent panoply (I confess, I don’t talk like that!) with a splash of violet.

Chapman Mountain

 

And here are new Virginia creeper leaves and a mossy stump ring outlining where once a forest tree stood.

Bradford Creek GW

 

Last year’s loblolly pine needles and fresh catkins (male flowers fully loaded with pollen ready for flight).

Verse

 

A flooded farm and forest road at nearby Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge — winter rye green over-topped by the greening forest and the soft blue sky above. A spring color buffet for those not requiring other than green (and blue).

Spring 2020

 

Six-year-old grandson Sam poking a catkin cluster to release a puff of pollen. Also in my backyard, landscape ornamentals do not maintain such fidelity to green foliage. I believe the foreground Japanese maple gives just the right shade of new red.

VerseSpring Green

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Photos of Steve

 

I like to imagine that representative samples of my books appreciate accompanying me into the woods. So far, none has complained nor groaned. Knowing that I am getting way out in front of remote possibility, perhaps there is a book of Steve’s Nature-Inspired Life and Living Poetry awaiting me around the corner of some forested trail!

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com

 

 

 

Correcting My Blog Post Distribution Snag

Hello to all, including those of you who disappeared via an error in my automatic Blog Post distribution system. Welcome… and welcome back!

I publish these Posts weekly, offering reflections and lots of my photos on Nature-Inspired Life and Living. All 210 (or so) that I’ve posted since January 2017 are accessible at: http://stevejonesgbh.com/blog/

My trouble-shooting may have resurrected some on the list who had elected to unsubscribe. If so, I beg your forgiveness. Unsubscribing remains quite simple.

Re-Introduction to Steve Jones, Retired Forester and Lifelong Nature Enthusiast

 

Chances are that most of you who fell aside because of my technical bust have met me. In case you haven’t, here I am dealing with Covid-19 house arrest:

Covid-19 Sheltering

 

Struggling at my desk with too many tight deadlines:

Three Books

 

And enjoying Nature with six-year-old grandson Sam:

Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits

 

Annotated Review of My Ten Most Recent Posts

 

Accompany me on an annotated tour of my ten most recent Posts. I write about my own journeys of revelation and discovery in Nature. All photos these past three years (with a rare inclusion of someone else’s capture with full attribution) are my own. I write most of the Posts about ventures here in Alabama, but I occasionally will stray to other locations, including several Posts from a July 2019 tour of western National Parks and an August 2019 visit to three National Parks in Kazakhstan. Although this Great Blue Heron website offers plenty of insight into who I am, in brief explanation, I am a forester (BS 1973) and applied ecologist (PhD 1987) who practiced my trade in the forest products industry and then wandered into higher education research, teaching, and administration. Above all else, I am a lifelong Nature enthusiast.

My Mission with these Posts and other retirement endeavors is quite simple: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

My ten most recent Posts:

April 7, 2020 — Cloud Verse

I’ve often observed that Nature is poetry in action. I’ve decided now that maybe I should attempt building some verse around my Nature observations and reflections. I offer a poem entitled Nature’s Cloud Inspiration, some reflections about clouds, and many of my own cloud photos: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/04/07/cloud-verse/

Distant Thunderstorm

 

April 1, 2020 Land Trust Mushroom Hike on Rainbow Mountain Preserve

I participated in yet another Land Trust of North Alabama hike, this one exploring mushrooms on Madison, Alabama’s Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve. Fungi are the generally hidden engines of life and death in our forests. Most of my recent Posts offer a Covid-19 statement of context. Here are my observations, reflections, and photos from Rainbow Mountain: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/04/01/land-trust-mushroom-hike-on-rainbow-mountain/

Mushroom Hike

 

 

March 28, 2020 Nature Pauses Not for a Human/Viral Pandemic

I offer a bit of verse about the paradox of a global viral pandemic changing every facet of our life and living… and Nature proceeding as though nothing is amiss: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/28/nature-pauses-not-for-a-human-viral-pandemic/

Verse

 

March 24, 2020 Resurrection Fern — A metaphor in Verse for Nature’s Simplicity

I visited nearby Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve the damp afternoon following 1.35″ of spring rain. Resurrection fern stood in full turgid splendor, reminding me that we, too, will emerge from Covid-19, forever changed, but stronger for the experience: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/24/resurrection-fern-a-metaphor-in-verse-for-natures-simplicity/

Resurrection Fern

 

March 19, 2020 Lyrical Expressions in Forest Pathogens… Under a Covid-19 Cloud

As Covid-19 is raging globally, I chose to offer some verse on historic tree disease pandemics. Writing one of my standard text and photo Blog Posts would have required a treatise far too long and scientific. Because Covid-19 is both a medicinal and emotional crisis, I wrapped my tree pathogen feelings loosely in science with a heavy seasoning of sentiment for the forests and trees of my profession… and my dreams: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/19/lyrical-expressions-in-forest-pathogens-under-a-covid-19-cloud/

Dead Oak

 

March 16, 2020 Bethel Spring North Alabama Land Trust: Yet Another Natural Gem

The Land Trust of North Alabama opened its Bethel Springs property with a February 29, 2020 ribbon-cutting and three interpretive hikes. I trekked with the History Hike leading to the old spring house, the waterfall, mill house foundation, and an old road bed or two led by local historian John Kvach. What a wonderful addition to our regional wonders of Nature! The Post: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/16/bethel-spring-north-alabama-land-trust-yet-another-natural-gem/

Opening Hike, Group at Falls

 

March 11, 2020 Nature Poetry: Sowing Seeds for Earth Stewardship

I’ve written my Nature-Inspired Life and Living Posts for nearly three years, relying upon prose and photos. I am now venturing into some verse, boldly going where this old forester has never gone before. As close as I’ve come to baring my soul! My Post: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/11/nature-poetry-sowing-seeds-for-earth-stewardship/

Wheeler NWR

 

March 7, 2020 Leafless Tree I.Di. Hike along Bradford Creek Greenway

February 22 I joined with a Leafless Tree I.D. hike sponsored by the Land Trust of North Alabama on the Bradford Creek Greenway. I remain convinced that learning more about Nature amplifies our commitment to Earth stewardship: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/07/leafless-tree-i-d-hike-along-bradford-creek-greenway/

North Alabama Land Trust

 

March 1, 2020 My Edu Alliance Journal Article on Academic Leadership

I offer global principles for academic leadership in the February 24, 2020 Edu Alliance Journal: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/03/01/my-edu-alliance-journal-article-on-academic-leadership/

Kazakhstan

 

February 26, 2020 A Morning Visit to a Nearby Section of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge with my Six-Year-Old Grandson

Just 15 months from turning 70, I am driven to plant seeds for Earth stewardship. What better way than making sure my own grandchildren carry the torch into tomorrow! Sam and I recently visited nearby Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2020/02/26/a-morning-visit-to-a-nearby-section-of-wheeler-national-wildlife-refuge-with-my-six-year-old-grandson/

Non-flowering Plants

 

Please keep in mind that there are another 200 Posts ranging widely, yet maintaining fidelity to the theme of Nature-Inspired Life and Living. During this time of Covid physical distancing, why not journey back into three years of Nature wandering?!

Watch for coming Posts on a more or less weekly basis.

 

Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause

If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:

Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.

Vision:

  • People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
  • They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.

Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!

 

Steve’s Three Books

I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:

  • I love hiking and exploring in Nature
  • I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
  • I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
  • I don’t play golf!
  • I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
  • Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
  • And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few others lives… sow some seeds for the future

Photos of Steve

 

I like to imagine that representative samples of my books appreciate accompanying me into the woods. So far, none has complained nor groaned. Knowing that I am getting way out in front of remote possibility, perhaps there is a book of Steve’s Nature-Inspired Life and Living Poetry awaiting me around the corner of some forested trail!

 

All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.

 

Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2020 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Another Note: If you came to this post via a Facebook posting or by an another route, please sign up now (no cost… no obligation) to receive my Blog Post email alerts: http://stevejonesgbh.com/contact/

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at steve.jones.0524@gmail.com