Nathan Bolls


Written By Nathan Bolls on April 6, 2017

We are in The Great Unfolding of Spring, a most appropriate time for learning to have Nature come to us rather than always believing we have to go to Nature. Our Natural Area can show us many of these “unfoldings.” Just pick a nature-filled place and sit quietly, look carefully, and listen intently—as if you were studying pores in a brick instead of the whole wall.

Written By Nathan Bolls on March 2, 2017

I rarely salute water that flows from my kitchen faucet.  Yet, one of the great unsung achievements of technology and science is the ability to produce huge and dependable quantities of potable water. In sharp contrast is the scene in the Third-World, where most every day, in a village somewhere, people rejoice in that first gush of safe water from some pipe in their village.

Written By Nathan Bolls on February 2, 2017

We have many “snowbirds” on campus during the summer.  This led me, during 21 and 24 January, to hike every street and trail on our campus except for the line of trees on the ridge between Meadowlark Valley and the cottages along the east side of Meadowlark Road.  I was involved in the “Sport of Kings:”  a scouting and counting venture meant to impress all of us with the number of wild creatures with whom we share our campus during the “growing season.”

Written By Nathan Bolls on November 2, 2016

Those sturdy conifer and deciduous trees gracing our Campus and Natural Area prove each winter, by standing and taking the full brunt of whatever winter throws at them, that they are tough cookies. Some of how they do this is understood, but the adaptive mechanisms described below will safeguard trees only so far into the realm of freezing temperatures. A reason exists for the “tree line” across northern Canada.

Written By Nathan Bolls on October 5, 2016


                       Our palette of fall!

                       Gently falling, fading—gone

                       Save in grateful eyes.                  


Haiku poem by NJB


 The first greenings of spring, in their endless variety of forms, represent a “color of relief.” We sense the promise of consistently warmer days and a new growing season. The beautiful turning of leaves in fall seems one of the consolation prizes we are given to soften the dread of winter.

Written By Nathan Bolls on August 31, 2016

Most birds soon will be pumping up for migration. Some of their journeys are legend, but perhaps none so much as for the delicate monarch butterfly.

This marvelous animal weighs less than one gram, of which it takes 28.35 to make an ounce. By contrast, an adult ruby-throated hummingbird weighs about 3.2 grams. The monarch's bird-like annual migration to one small mountainous area in central Mexico (and back again) is unique in the insect world and especially remarkable because the insects have no elders to show them the way.

Written By Nathan Bolls on August 4, 2016

For many weeks we have been surrounded by the photosynthetic fecundity of green plants. With cooler weather this process mostly will have reached fruition for this growing season. But, stay tuned for 2017!

Written By Nathan Bolls on July 6, 2016

The top-rank poet, Maxine Kumin, while cleaning out her horse barn one day, got the idea for her "Excrement Poem." Basically, she honors what drops from us because it means "we go on." This is true for all animals, but that could develop into a problem.

Written By Nathan Bolls on June 1, 2016

Some days just sort of go along. Others are spectacular. Yesterday, for me, was a spectacular. No, I was not preoccupied with the colorful botanical effulgence that newly surrounds us.

I got to spend three hours watching dead trees! Concerning fallen trees, John Muir, the naturalist, explorer, and writer of Yosemite Valley fame, once remarked that "The burial of a tree is a beautiful thing." But let's begin with the standing dead.

Written By Nathan Bolls on May 4, 2016

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "The bards sublime/Whose distant footsteps echo/Through the Corridors of Time." Nice thought, but we have broken the land, have severed too much the corridors of both Space and Time.

Time to stand up for corridors! Not the house-bound sort used by humans, but those found on the land--floored by plants, fungi, microbes and detritus--that permit wildlife to move from one ecological region to another.