Brief-Form Post #25: The Nature of Iron Bowl 2023!

I am pleased to add the 25th of my GBH Brief Form Posts (Less than three minutes to read!) to my website. I tend to get a bit long-winded with my routine Posts. I don’t want my enthusiasm for thoroughness and detail to discourage readers. So I will publish these brief Posts regularly.

Brief-Form Post on The Nature of Iron Bowl 2023!


Chris Stuhlinger, a fellow retired forester and Auburn graduate, secured tickets for the 2023 Iron Bowl and invited me to attend. I leaped at the chance. I had not attended a game at Jordan-Hare since the fall of 2000. I revisited campus and attended the game cognizant of the theme I preselected for a Great Blue Heron Brief-Form Post: The Nature of the Iron Bowl. I did not allow the photo essay pursuit to diminish my enjoyment of the game.

From 1996-2001, I held a tenured full professor designation in the College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment, hence the photo below left. A loblolly pine crown and autumn sky presented at the building’s front.


I served as Director, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, headquartered in Duncan Hall (below left). The regal crepe myrtle plantings on Duncan’s south flank furnished another facet of Nature.


The 11:43 AM cerulean sky and cirrus wisps provided a perfect backdrop to the high hopes of both AU and UA faithful tailgating prior to the 2:30 PM kickoff. I am a hopeless fanatic of sky and clouds.


As the crowds began shuffling into the stadium, clouds continued streaming into the firmament above Jordan-Hare (1:17 PM).


I’ve held positions at nine universities over my 35 years in higher education. No other college can match the pre-kickoff Nature spectacle of Auburn’s War Eagle release, circling, and descent to mid-field! The eagle’s handler passed just in front of our Row Seven seats at 4:01 PM (halftime), giving me an added Nature-theme bonus!



Two minutes later the sky spectacle deepened as the sun dipped horizon-ward.


Chris wandered to the vendor level to seek halftime refreshment, capturing the sun setting, yet another worthy natural phenomenon..


I wonder how many others among the 85,000 attendees paid any mind to Nature’s performance. Below left, the second half kickoff (4:03 PM), and during the third period action at 4:15 PM.


By the fourth period, a full moon rose above the stadium’s northeast corner.


Allow me to insert an editorial comment. I retired from my higher education career just as the specter of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) was emerging with cultish embrace by universities, the mainstream media, and the political left. As a biological scientist, I see nothing in Nature that operates effectively, efficiently, and reliably by the tenets of DEI. Instead, Nature is a consummate, tireless, and proven meritocracy. The fans in Jordan-Hare did not seek Equity (equal outcome); they demanded a victor. They expected Inclusion based only upon talent, commitment, effort, and performance. The only Diversity that mattered on the field of play was expressed by skills, desires, and ability to perform the duties expected of the position. I view the whole notion of DEI as incongruous on the field of play by two universities that have entire administrative staffs occupying offices of DEI. Nature, thank God, has no Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To the victor go the spoils.

I recorded this 19-second video well into the fourth quarter, when the Auburn fans neared frenzied enthusiasm for the victory they sensed was at hand. Nobody hoped for a tie!


I leave discussion of the game’s outcome to others. I’ll say only that the day could not have been richer for those of us who are students of Nature and tireless enthusiasts for her beauty, magic, wonder, and awe!

I accept the challenge of distilling these Brief-Form Posts into a single distinct reflection, a task far more elusive than assembling a dozen pithy statements. Today, I borrow a relevant reflection (not his words) from John Muir, one of the truly great minds of conservation and environmental antiquity:

  • Our human lives proceed within the enveloping folds of Nature, whether the intimacy of our relationships, the roiling competition of historic rivalries, or the sweet joy of sunsets, full moons rising, or old memories rekindled.


NOTE: I place 3-5 short videos (15 seconds to three minutes) on my Steve Jones Great Blue Heron YouTube channel weekly. All relate to Nature-Inspired Life and Living. I encourage you to SUBSCRIBE! It’s FREE. Having more subscribers helps me spread my message of Informed and Responsible Earth Stewardship…locally and globally!