It’s Cold. So Here Are Some Summer Nature Shots From The South

It’s long john season. Wool socks. Sweaters and parkas. Squeeze into your car with all that. See your breath. Try to reach for the seat belt with limited flexibility and then wrap it around your now 60-inch waist line.

Whoop. My phone’s in my coat pocket. Better undo my seat belt to get it out.

Get home. Forget to take off boots immediately. Now have a wet floor.

Ah, winter in the upper Midwest!

For this reason, I thought it might seem out of touch to share nature photos from my summer Southern travel. But then I corrected myself and realized this is just the time. As we drag into the long, holiday-free stretch of frigidity and all its fringe benefits, let us think of warmer days just weeks away.

I’ll remind us of these greener times by sharing shots taken at a nature reserve outside Memphis, Tennessee–on the western edge of the state. And then some other shots taken from the Great Smokey Mountains along Tennessee’s eastern border with North Carolina.

We span Tennessee, a stunning state for natural beauty in this week’s post.


While visiting my friend Thomas in Memphis. I drove by the entrance to the Lichterman Nature Center just outside of town. I had no idea what it was. But like so many times during my Southern travel, I stopped on a dime to investigate.

Boardwalks and paths let to a large pond overflowing with life.

Walking out to that dock, I wanted to get a closer look at these large lilies.

They weren’t lilies. They were lotuses. Like horn bells facing the sun to blare out their worship.

These plants boast more than their leaves.

But let’s not overlook the leaves. In fact, one of the coolest interactions I had was to move around the end table-sized leaves and watch the gathered dew drops in the center swirl around with no residue. Apparently, the leaves have an oily surface, causing the water to bead up.

Check it out:

Going from micro to macro, another stunning view:

Back into the forest:

The Lichterman Nature Center in Memphis, Tennessee is well worth a wander.


On Tennessee’s eastern side are the Great Smokey Mountains, and just outside of Cleveland, Tennessee is one of many parks to dot this magnificent mountain range. My Couchsurfing host, Phil, took me out for a walk through the reserve and to take in the views.

Few things are more grounding than a dirt path.

The boulders added to the connection to earth.

They also made for obstacles.

Our prize at the end of the path?

Top of the waterfall:

On our walk back, I began to capture the fungus at our feet:

Finally, a stop alongside the road on the return drive offered those breathtaking views:

Tennessee. Nature. Summer. Yes, please.

Enjoy the nature when and where you are.


Next time on my Southern journal, I share the story of two mountain men I encountered in West Virginia. If you have an adventure or story you’d like to share on The Periphery, please email me at

What say you?