An Unanticipated Setback to My Nature Wanderings: Triple Bypass!

This Post takes a different approach: not just Nature’s contribution to the quality of my life, but a medical intervention intended to keep me in the game of life!

Scheduled for left knee replacement surgery, doctors suggested a ticker evaluation. Here’s the resultant life-awakening sequence:

   Warning: June 5 — stress test
   Danger: June 15 — catheterization
   Action: June 19 — triple bypass
   Recovery begins: June 26 — release from hopsital
I expected the necessary knee surgery to boost my woods-rambling. Instead, I found myself in urgent surgery to perhaps save my life…an ordinary life like many others, full of surprises.
I thought the stress test was completely unecessary. I’m a former marathon runner; a frequent hiker; an enthusiast biker; and avid gym rat! I likewise viewed the need for a catheterization with denial — I don’t have a heart problem! The news from that procedure knocked me flat — your heart has serious blockages. We want to keep you over the weekend preparing for Monday morning triple or quadruple bypass!
So what did I do? I reluctantly…then gratefully…accepted the diagnosis, knowing that knee surgery without identifying the heart condition could have ended my hiking permanently. And I turned to the sentiment I’d been preaching since my March 2022 minor stroke: Nature Buoyed Aging and Healing!
I snapped this sunrise photo the morning before surgery, accepting it as a signal that a time of promise lies beyond any darkness of surgery.

The Tunnel of Darkness

I won’t go into the sordid and ghastly vision of awakening intubated and with three significant chest tubes and multiple other connections, both electronic and otherwise.
The in-house recovery hours and days dragged by, time seemed to stand still. Yet, I saw glimpses of hope and potential, like the afternoon after surgery (6:39 PM) from my room post-ICU — so good to be placed in non-ICUroom!
When days seemed the most bleak, family (Judy, son Matt, and daughter Katy) lifted me. I recall a representative from Mended Hearts stopping by to reassure me, saying, “You are in a dark tunnel. From within you can see a distant daybreak, rich with warm breezes, birdsong, bright skies, and promise. Know that you will emerge far sooner than you fear.” Ironic that his metaphor fit so well within my own Nature-Buoyed Aging and Healing, a phrophetic alignment. I felt better.
The next afternoon (2:09 PM) revealed another glimpse of what lay ahead. I took deep solace in what my bypass-experienced acquaintance had observed.
A senior nurse comforted me, “Know that this is just a moment in a long continuum of healthy life beyond this hospital stay. So much of positive living awaits you.” Removal of chest tubes and other surgery accoutrements bore witness that progress was underway.
Alas, a week from surgery, the blessings of life ushered me from the tunnel and that moment of darkness. I felt liberation in sunshine, fresh air, bird song, and the promise of my patio and the comfort of my own bed and recliner!

The Window of Light and Promise Beyond

Ah, to be home! Here’s the 8:22 PM view from the patio, a pleasure impossibly within reach just a few days earlier!
Two minutes later I recorded this 18-second video:
The simple things yield the greatest measure of Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, awe, and inspiration…like this large flowering hibiscus the second afternoon.
Sunrise the third day kept the string of new-day Nature-joys intact!
The accompanying 18-second video captures the exquisite visual and audio elegance of sunrise.
I’ll leave it there, the second dawn home after life-altering emergence surgery. I am certain that I will incorporate the Nature-Buoyed Aging and Healing theme into future Posts. For the moment, know that I am eager to wander the woods again as summer ebbs and cooler weather returns.

Thoughts and Reflections


I offer these observations:

  • Nature lifts my heart, soothes my soul, and heals my body.
  • Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue. (John Muir)

Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Inform, Reward, and Heal 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.”

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:

And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at


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

Steve's Books


All three of my books (Nature Based LeadershipNature-Inspired Learning and LeadingWeaned 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.