Exploring Nature on the Family Farm

Dennis photographing wildflowersPolliwogs swimming in a Mason jar, sandhill cranes sipping at the livestock tank and peanut butter and mint jelly sandwiches scarfed downwind of a stagnant pond nurtured a deep appreciation for the “wild side” of growing up on a Midwestern dairy farm. Those youthful safaris to the North-Forty left three lasting impressions: each individual shares an integral role in God’s creation; the natural world represents a vibrant, living classroom; and we should never take Nature’s wisdom, majesty and complexity for granted.

Fortunately, adulthood’s stresses failed to quell my child-like fascination, my awestruck wonderment. On the other hand, those same family responsibilities hampered this amateur naturalist’s scientific progress, leaving little time to grow much beyond the basics of “NatSci 101.”

Yet, in stark contrast, a majority of my contemporaries, caught up in the deceptive glamor of the global society, now equate their perceived level of civilized sophistication to be in direct proportion to the distance placed between their existence and the natural world.

“The North-Forty Journal” essays either recall early sojourns into the outdoor classroom or relate recent tales, transcribed from actual journal entries, hastily written as an everyday woodland drama unfolded. The stories center on discovering, observing and reporting Nature’s uncut gems and the treasures they offer a willing soul.

And just perhaps, a few scribbled sentences might motivate a curious reader to forgo texting, to set aside the laptop or turn off the television long enough to explore Nature’s beauty, if only on a ten minute walk around the yard.

The North-Forty essays are available, complete with supporting photographs, for print publication in non-competing markets, either as a feature article or as a monthly or bi-monthly column.

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