First Fireflies 

Fireflies all around, up in the trees, like sparks drifting through the woods, lighting fires in my imagination. I don't know much about the various species of fireflies, but these come out every year just as the big trees get their leaves. They're not the same as the kind we get later in summer, and... Continue Reading →

Spring Transitions 

For one with alert natural senses, I think the seasons are many more than four. It seems to me the seasons are constantly changing, and there must be at least a dozen. In my neck of the woods, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, the season of the ephemeral spring wildflower is almost over. The Toothworts... Continue Reading →

Remembering How to Connect with Nature

Turn off television, computer, and iPhone. Go outside. Go alone. Or go with others. Take a friend or a lover. Share with a child if one's available. Let the child lead and follow wonder. Put aside your lists and preoccupations. See like a child. Be like a child. Explore and meander. Look around. See. Taste.... Continue Reading →

The Greening of the Forest

Even if I live to see another fifty-seven springs, I will always marvel at the forest's transformations. A person can hike at least a dozen different trails by walking the same path repeatedly throughout the year. Autumn leaves and winter snow are dramatic, but lately I've been captivated by the greening of spring. In just... Continue Reading →

Welcome to The Wandering Trail

Welcome to The Wandering Trail, a place to think about nature, ecology, and the simple joy of going for a walk. I’m Michael Asbell, an average citizen who likes hiking in the woods, has an education in biology, and is a geek when it comes to nature. I tend to think of myself simply as... Continue Reading →

Open-eyed and Present 

"A gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it. And yet it appears. Your only role is to be open-eyed and present." —Robin Wall Kimmerer, in her... Continue Reading →

Where Wild Lives

Whether you realize it or not, all of wild nature lies right outside your front door. Nature is not confined to some place "out there" away from us. One doesn't need exotic lands, the grandeur of a national park, or even a  few acres of city park to experience nature firsthand. For those who care... Continue Reading →

Forest Medicine

Sometimes I get as much good from walking barely 1/2 mile as I do in 10. For me hiking is only secondarily about physical exercise. Though my heart and legs appreciate the exercise, the crucial benefits are what nature does for me emotionally. Walking in a forest calms me, and soothes my anxious heart. It... Continue Reading →

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