In concert with the January 19, 2023 Alabama State Park Foundation Board meeting I spent two nights at an Oak Mountain State Park cabin on Tranquility Lake, rewarding me handsomely with two evenings and two mornings of dusk and dawn lakeside.
I shifted this Post from my normal focus on lessons and conclusions that I draw (and communicate) from my observations, reflections, and photographs. Occasionally I like to ask the photos and videos to speak without the clutter and distraction of wordy narrative. I ask that you accept the compilation of photos and videos as a simple sharing of Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe…so often available with minimum effort and cost within easy reach of where we happen to live.
Double Oak Lake Welcome
After checking in at the park office January 17, I stopped at the larger Double Oak Lake near the headquarters, capturing the fading afternoon sky above the lake at 3:55 and 4:00 PM.
The shoreline forest reflected nicely at 3:57 PM. Calm water encourages visual and spiritual reflection!
First Evening at Tranquility Lake
Once settled into my cabin, I explored my surroundings, collecting photographs and memories from the shore and entering Maggie’s Glen Trail. I’ll report on my several forest ventures in two separate Posts. I snapped the photos below at 4:37 and 4:46 as the sun descended into the forest across Tranquility Lake. Peace, beauty, and serenity abound…intense in their subtlety. An abundance of spiritual and sacred connection…the magic entered me, absorbed by the five portals of acceptance: body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit!
Camera perspective modifies brightness. The two images below appear much brighter than the direct sunset views above. These images emphasize forest and shoreline reflections (4:37 and 4:38 PM).
I recorded this 3:07 video at 4:38, immediately after the four still photos above.
Time progressed as I left the pond (4:52 PM) to explore the first few hundred feet of the Maggie’s Glen Trail, saving deeper exploration for the next morning. The view left depicts the feeder stream entering the lake; I snapped the photo at right a few hundred feet further from the lake.
I returned from the forest, where darkness was rapidly descending (or was the gloam ascending?), to gather two more images, the western sky and my cabin, both photos at 5:19 PM, nautical twilight.
Just a minute later, Nature gave me one last gift as fog…an evening vapor…began seeping from the outlet stream forest under a still luminescent western sky.
John Muir often captured the essence of Nature’s inspiration and magic:
This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.
First Morning on Tranquility Lake
January 18 I arose early to enjoy dawn, a daily gift I seldom miss wherever I am. Tranquility Lake once again presented a serene, calm, dawn image at 6:41 AM.
Because still photos can’t capture all of the dawn magic, here is my 2:09 video:
My cabin at 6:55 AM, a stand of loblolly line rising into the mists behind it.
A quiet gaggle of Canada geese gathered at the inlet stream (6:57 AM).
I caught the geese stirring and a nearby great blue heron in the dawn tranquility with this 2:08 video:
Shifting my lens to the heron (6:57 AM), I managed a profile just before the magnificent bird took flight.
Nearly an hour later, I returned to the lake after emerging from hiking on Maggie’s Glen Trail, to find the lake still misty (7:53 AM).
Second Morning on Tranquility Lake
January 19, I once again exited my cabin, snapping two Tranquility Lake photos at 6:32 and 6:34 AM, with little mist and a higher stratus overcast than the prior morning. My Canada geese friends have not left.
Here’s my 2:41 video of yet another dawn on Tranquility Lake:
Perhaps I would have eventually tired of the superb reflections of cabin and trees (6:34 AM) and the view of the lake from the feeder stream (6:37 AM), but I suspect it would take far longer that just my two night stay!
By 7:10 AM I viewed and photographed Tranquility Lake from the Cabins Loop Trail whose trailhead departed near my cabin. With the sky brightening and hints of blue and pink, the reflections remained intense and rewarding.
The views at 7:14 and 7:20 AM paid great dividends for my investment of rising early and circuiting the Cabins Loop Trail. I shall never abandon my pre-dawn and early morning wanderings!
Repeating from my opening, I shifted this Post from my normal focus on lessons and conclusions that I draw (and communicate) from my observations, reflections, and photographs. Occasionally I like to ask the photos and videos to speak without the clutter and distraction of wordy narrative. I ask that you accept the compilation of photos and videos as a simple sharing of Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe…so often available with minimum effort and cost within easy reach of where we happen to live.
I shall never tire of rising early enough to chronicle a new day’s dawning, whether from my back patio, in a nearby parcel of wildness, or some far away destination!
Alabama State Parks Foundation
Thoughts and Reflections
I offer these observations:
- I shall never tire of Nature’s dawning and gloaming.
- This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once (John Muir).
- I shall never abandon my pre-dawn and early morning wanderings!
Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Inform, and Reward you!
Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2023 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”
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And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- 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 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.
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 other lives… sow some seeds for the future
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.