Just For the Love of Nature

A rural forest and swamp scene in Minnesota.

Give me a pleasant day, my camera bag in hand, and there is no better way to pass my time than with a leisurely walk in the woods. Communing with nature is at its best when surrounded by trees, meadows, and the meditative stillness that is profound in its ability to soothe the soul. Forests are a unique feature of the Earth's ecological balance in that they provide bounty for the human element of our world and the habitat of survival for all the creatures that dwell within. A healthy forest is a dynamic ecosystem.

I love the sounds of the woods. The birds, the squirrels, the occasional larger animal that might scurry about – all of which view you as an intruder upon their space. I love the deer but meeting a moose makes me nervous. (Bears, I’m going to give you a free pass to roam as you please, although I have never actually encountered one in the wild.) There is a cacophony of sounds to be found among the trees. If you listen hard enough, the true joy of a walk in the woods could best be described by what Simon and Garfunkel called the “Sounds of Silence.”

A path or trail is the best route to enjoy your woodland foray. Needlessly destroying delicate foliage is an unnecessary practice and diminishes the overall health of the flora and fauna in the ecosystem. We all need to be stewards of the land. We all need to be aware that the usage and regeneration of woodlands, if well-managed, is a long-term renewable resource.

A Quiet Path In The Woods

Some people think you need to see a wide variety of animals and creatures for a hike to be successful. This is far from my personal truth. Trees are photogenic in their own right and they mostly remain still when you try to take their picture, gale-force winds notwithstanding. Forest photography would seem to have lots of greens and browns in its make-up and this is mostly correct. But capturing a picture of a colorful bird amid a backdrop of green and brown is the stuff that bird photographs are meant to blend with.

A Chickadee Greets the Day

With all this being said, there are some pushbacks to my natural draw of nature. All inhabitants of the wild are not among my favorite things. The flies, mosquitos, bugs, and ticks are high on the list of things I “unlove” about the wild. They will never keep me away from woodland destinations but I always try to be prepared for them. Knowledge of Lyme disease is also something I try to stay current on. Bug repellant is a must on forest adventures.

I also try to remember my pair of binoculars when I trudge the trails. Besides helping you get up close and personal with forest denizens, binoculars can help you scout out the trail ahead for potential photo-ops.

Encountering rivers and ponds are an added bonus. You are increasing your chances for unique sightings with every new variable that is added into the mix. As autumn approaches, my favorite season by-the-way, expectations are high for photo expeditions into the quiet solitude of the forest and my life-long art of “leaf-peeping.”.

Northwoods Minnesota Provides Peace and Serenity

Until next time. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And keep clickin’.

Photo credits: Daryl Byklum.

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August 21, 2020


I love the 'quiet path in the woods' shot! Wish I could go there! William 

August 19, 2020


I love your thoughts. I'm a fellow nature lover and have begun experimenting with different ways to appreciate the micro levels of our earth. Nature art, birdwatching, photography and your comment on the binoculars reminded me of my childhood when I would stay at my Nanas house and take her binoculars out to watch all manner of tiny or far away things. 

August 17, 2020


Great sentiments in a great story! PS: you are right to be Lyme disease aware. I am still suffering from a Greek tick bite back in October 2016. We traced the tick back to a very furry friendly cat that came visiting.

August 16, 2020


Thank you, Lindalombardo. I much appreciate that you took the time to read it.  I didn't realize that I was using forest therapy, but I do love forests.

August 16, 2020


Daryl, as a forest therapy guide, I love this blog! You touched on how all the senses are activated in nature, and one doesn't need to see wildlife to appreciate its beauty. The trees create a symphony of sound if you're willing to be still and listen. Thank you for your beautiful photos and words! 

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