Nature and Beauty are Bread for the Soul

Nature Beauty Bread“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

Photo taken a few days ago in Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, Missouri.  Get out and enjoy Autumn before the wind and cold sweep away all the color!


Creeping into Autumn

Virginia Creeper Turning

I took this picture a couple weeks ago as the local Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) population began changing into its vibrant red garb.  Thank you, Nature!!!

Virginia Creeper often gets mistaken for Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but is 5-leaved, whereas the Poison Ivy is 3-leaved.  Both are native to this area, but I’d highly recommend Virginia Creeper for your garden or natural landscaping.

Just make sure not to landscape with Poison Ivy, unless you’re itching to repel your neighbors…  Ha!

Muir Never Saw a Discontented Tree

“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”  ~John Muir

Tree Philosophy

Took this photo last fall at Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton, IL.  What a wonderful evening trek it was.

Halloween Hike at Castlewood

I visited Castlewood State Park, just outside of St. Louis, for a rejuvenating hike. Even though we’ve passed our peak for fall color, I brought along the camera.  And I’m glad I did!!

The lighting and shadow from the half-empty canopy made photography in the forest fun.

Understory Tragedy

A jewel in the rubble.  An oak leaf has fallen on this (evil) honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) shrub.

A dogwood, although I’m not certain if it’s a Flowering Dogwood or something else of the Cornus genus.

Part of the allure of Castlewood is it’s trail that runs along the edge of the Meramec River as well as on the bluffs a couple hundred feet above it.


It’s been an interesting month, to say the least.  In short, I’m on the hunt for career opportunities in the St. Louis area.  I’ve been updating my LinkedIn profile and my resume.  I’m very interested in conservation, environmental science, sustainability consulting, environmental education, living architecture, stormwater management, and riparian zone restoration, to name a few.  I’d even go back to retail (eye twitch) to help get the bills paid.  But I know that with a professional degree, I would like to make a living by helping society escape the unsustainable rut, to strive for improvement.  I am impatiently patient.  Hopefully, there will be numerous upcoming opportunities to network in the green world of St. Louis, too.Toxicodendron radicans

In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoy perusing the nature photography blogs throughout WordPress.  Thank you everyone for sharing your art, your homes, your nature, and your perspectives!  It is relaxing and rejuvenating!  In the meantime, here are a couple more photos of autumn color (taken a couple of weeks ago in Southwest Missouri).

Even Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is beautiful in its own way.

Along the Great River Road

This weekend, we ventured along the Great River Road to Pere Marquette State Park to marvel at autumn’s fireworks.  This state park is just outside of Grafton, Illinois (motorcycle heaven) near the fork of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  We took a relaxing hike in the woods among several trees including Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), and Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), to name a few.  (Bring a tree identification key the next time you wander in the woods.  Know your neighbors so that you can appreciate them better.)   I highly recommend this beautiful area this time of year.  But don’t worry, if you miss the fall colors, the bald eagles will begin arriving to the area for the winter.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir