Nature’s Inspiration at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Nearby Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge inspires living, learning, serving, and leading. Accustomed to living places where local birds spend winter far to our south, we are pleased now that some choose to join us for the cold months. The Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association ( April quarterly newsletter reported that Wheeler provided winter habitat for 19,000 sandhill cranes December through February. We visited often, marveling at their beauty in-flight and on-ground, enjoying the symphony of their joined voices, and feeling their spirit rise within us.

The cranes left Wheeler before the end of February. All is relatively quiet there now and will remain so until the they begin to return mid-November.

Their lessons for me are simple and powerful:
1. Understand and flow with the seasons of your life and vocation
2. Bloom where you are planted – whether the summer tundra of northern Canada or winter along the Tennessee River here locally
3. Find reason to joyously sing and frolic (at least in your heart, soul, and spirit)
4. Share common purpose
5. Make the most of wherever life (or the seasons) takes you
6. Each of us is part of a grand design; know it and embrace it

Only a few of my neighbors know about Wheeler; even fewer have visited. Although the cranes wintering here is a gift from God (enabled by the intrepid conservationists who helped envision and create the Refuge), far too many people are ignorant of the annual three-month miracle along the Tennessee river.

A January day at Wheeler (photo) instructs us to truly open our eyes – to actually look, see, feel, and act on behalf of our future. Nature’s inspiration is a powerful force… an elixir, a tonic that can soothe and lift. Nature’s wisdom runs deep, tested across the eons. Too many of us, tragically, are blind to Nature’s magic, wonder, awe, and beauty.

Nearly none of us recognize that we are integral to Nature’s ebbs, flows, patterns, and processes. We are all subject to the seasons of life. We can all learn from the way sandhill cranes flourish across conditions, time, and geography.

Great Blue Heron, LLC ( helps open eyes to Nature’s wisdom and inspiration, and apply Nature’s lessons to our lives and enterprises.