Nature Views and Viewpoints for August

looking up the trunk of the
tree into the leaves "It seems incredible that government should have abandoned so much of the forest cover of the mountains to destruction. As well sell the rain clouds, and the snow, and the rivers, to be cut up and carried away if that were possible. Surely it is high time that something be done to stop the extension of the barbarous, indiscriminating method of harvesting the lumber crop."

From an essay by John Muir, written sometime in the 1880's during his explorations of the western U.S., and in particular the area near what is now Yosemite National Park.

slide of that little plant A walk through the woods requires two sets of eyes - one to see where you're going, and one to see where you are. As in life, we're often so preoccupied with where we're going that we barely see what's happening around us in the moment. Sometimes the best visual treats are right in front of us, or just underfoot, if we simply slow down, bend over, look around some branches, and pay attention....

Both photographs included this month were taken in a forest near Syracuse, NY where I went hiking last month with my brother. This image shows a small "Jack-in-the-pulpit" plant that I almost stepped on because I was so intent on continuing through the trees. Fortunately, I happened to look down and saw it peeking through the undergrowth - a reminder that there's plenty for us to see if we're open to the possibilities.

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