Big Blue’s First Quarter 2017

Observing nature clears my head and allows me to glean lessons for harnessing Nature’s wisdom and inspiration. Nature informs and inspires my consulting, stimulates my writing, and furnishes endless vignettes and anecdotes for motivational speaking.

We moved permanently into our new home in Madison, AL end of June 2016. Christmas 2016, our then 8-year-old grandson Jack gave me a Bird Watching and Other Nature Observations Journal. I immediately dubbed it my journal of Observations from Big Blue Lake, named after our resident great blue heron. I began journaling January 1, focusing on Big Blue’s comings and goings, yet not limited to him.

Drafting the 13 essays in Nature Based Leadership, my first book, I discovered that writing requires far deeper thinking than talking. In fact, and I’ve occasionally been guilty myself, I’ve had some verbal interactions when it soon became obvious that one of us was barely engaging the mind! Writing is far more demanding. Journaling requires a lot — I hand-write mine, which means the more concise and clear I can be, the fewer words I must record.

Today I re-read journal entries through March 31. Wow, a quick and cogent reminder that life can be pretty exciting on a four-acre lake in northern Alabama! Of course, Big Blue head-lined the quarter. See the photo of him fishing at our willow clump. We saw him 26 of January’s 31 days, including the final 12 consecutive days. January 2, 26, and 28 he stayed near our shore most of the day. Over the month we witnessed four successful fish catches. On the 17th and 21st two great blues appeared at one time, reminding me that we cannot be certain that Big Blue is a single bird we see repeatedly. Our resident may be more than one.

February we spotted him (I’ll stick with the image of a single resident) 19 days, and saw him make two unsuccessful plunges for prey. February 24 we once again saw two herons at once. March brought 19 observations during the 28 days we were home. We saw no doubles. We witnessed a single fish catch, along with a spectacular empty dive from shore!

February 2, two hooded mergansers appeared — and stayed with us every day through March 21. I did not see them March 22, or any day after. When in residence, they floated, paddled, and dived continuously across the lake. some days we saw two and three pairs of male and female. One day seven toured the lake. I suppose with the equinox they departed for points north.

I’ve noted often that autumn here in the South slowly, blessedly, deliciously transitions to spring. Winter comes only as a day or two here and there. We reached a low of six degrees just once. Ice covered two-thirds of the lake two mornings. March 12 looked a little like winter with a coating of snow. Just 15 days later a spring evening thunderstorm set the stage for a glorious double rainbow!

Our resident Canada geese began getting aggressively territorial by mid-March, with what I assumed to be the males of two pairs chasing away all other intruders. By late-March bullfrogs were bellowing and red winged blackbird males posting, posturing, and singing loudly.

All of Nature ebbs and flows with the seasons. I will enjoy beginning anew next January. I want to learn the rhythms. Our lives and enterprises likewise follow seasonal shifts, cycles, and patterns. We can anticipate, respond, and adapt only when we take time to learn the patterns. Great Blue Heron strives to help clients look (really look) to actually see, understand, and anticipate the trends affecting them. We urge those we touch to look and see deeply enough to generate feelings. Day-to-day and in aggregate, the rhythms and patterns reveal themselves, and inform our decisions. The feelings spur us to action — actions that enrich and lift the individual and the enterprise.

Great Blue Heron specializes in Harnessing Nature’s Wisdom and Inspiration.