A Nature Walk With: Secondary Roads

A secondary road is a road that supplements the main road. In my mind it is a more peaceful scenic way to get to your destination. I believe that Chuck feels the same way. When he began to work from home and his wife retired from teaching, they returned to Michigan and 14 acres. Today we take a nature walk with Chuck as he tells us a little more about Secondary Roads.

01. Welcome to Nature Center Magazine. We are all anxious to learn a little bit about you. Tell us what your blog is all about.

Thank you. Secondary Roads is about enjoying and appreciating life in retirement. No more board meetings, no deadlines, no more dealing with office politics and long-range commutes in heavy traffic. It’s about life on a rural dirt road, where wildlife and livestock greatly outnumber humans. It’s about happiness and contentment in solitude and in the wonderful world that is our inheritance.

Perhaps this haiku of mine sums it up best:

Alone I sit here,

Looking out upon my world.

Finding joy in all.

02. Everyone has their own unique story about what gave them the idea to
start blogging. What is yours?

That’s a great question. In late 2008, I started to write 365 letters to my two sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. My plan was to bind these and present the collected letters to them as Christmas gifts the following year. My grandparents were interesting folk, but how much did I know about them? Even my own parents, who had passed by then, had left many things unsaid. Determination to leave a different legacy set my course.

After writing about a dozen letters, I intentionally sat them aside for several days. When I returned to them, and read carefully, it was clear that it wasn’t going to work. At least for me, it wasn’t. My sister, Clara, was blogging regularly at that time (she has since closed and removed her blogs). I had read her blog from time-to-time and realized that a blog would be another way to share some of my thoughts with family. I could do it as I went and get feedback to help correct the course.

So on a trial basis, the blogging began on January 2, 2009. I didn’t anticipate the friends that would enter my life in the process. Turns out that 365 posts later, there was more to be said. And so I continue to write for my family, but also for the friends that have become like family.

03. What do you enjoy about nature and what benefits do you derive from it?

The whole of the natural world that surrounds us is astounding. It is there to see, experience and enjoy. Today, I have a deeper reverence for life and a sense of belonging in the natural order.

04. Each of us has our own way of being with nature. Some people hike,
some take pictures, and some climb trees. How do you experience nature?

I observe. Stars, moon, clouds, a bird on the wing, a cat on the prowl, an insect scurrying on its rounds all hold interest for the one who will watch and learn. Plants are also amazing. Some like sun and others shade. Some favor damp and others dry. No matter where I am, there is always something to be seen.

The garden is a great place to experience the connection.

05. Tell us about the most exciting or scary nature related thing that
ever happened to you.

I was about seven years old, and we were visiting my paternal grandparents. They lived on the edge of a wooded area. Very late in the afternoon, I was “exploring” the woods. There were some ruts where some kind of vehicle(s) had passed through many years earlier. Saplings and small trees were reclaiming the land. I followed this into the woods so that I wouldn’t get lost. There was so much to see that I lost track of time. The light began to wane. The sun had set and twilight reigned. I turned my feet around on the “trail” and headed back toward the house. The light continued to wane and I was wishing I was not there in the woods. I walked quickly. Then I heard a strange whooshing noise approaching from behind. It caught me and passed just over my head. Yikes! It was a great horned owl. The bird landed in a tree directly in front of me. It looked at me and said, “Whooo.” To me that was scary.

06. If you were to take us on a nature tour of your area where would you
take us first?

That is a difficult question. I am surrounded by a world that fascinates and interests me. I don’t have to trek to far away places to see amazing things. It’s in the garden, nibbling grass on the edge of my lawn, flying overhead or in the clouds. There is so much to see and enjoy for those who will.

Describe what we would see.

My garden thrives thanks to natural fertilizer and the work of my wife, Sylvia. On the grass you’re apt to see rabbits, deer, squirrels, chipmunks and you might see a turtle slowly headed for only the turtle knows where or a fox off on an important errand. (The coyotes are more shy than that.) Birds abound. Both seed eaters and bug eaters. The buzzards are usually somewhere around looking for the next meal. Various types of hawks can also be seen, with the red tail hawk the most easily identified. At one time or another most birds that inhabit this part of the world can be seen from this place. That includes eagles, both bald and golden. Perhaps my favorite are the swallows that come out and “dance” with me while I mow about 5 acres of grass. It amazes me how agile they are in the air as they capture their insect snacks. And there is so much more.

07. If you could visit any nature spot in the world, what would it be?
Tell us why.

I don’t know how to answer this question. To me, the enjoyment comes in finding beauty, amazement and joy where I am. It doesn’t require that I go somewhere else to fine it. I’m sure it would be an awesome experience to stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon—I’ve only seen it from 35,000 feet out an airliner’s window. Ditto for the shore of the Great Salt Lake. It would also be great to test the buoyancy of the water in the Dead Sea. However, I’m content to explore the eleven acres that I call home.

08. Each blogger has gained their own insight into writing a blog. What
have you learned that you would like to share with other bloggers?

To me, blogging is about connecting. I tried the “click and run” schemes and found them to be time wasters that brought traffic to my blog, but only did a little to help me find others with similar interests. Constantly look for ways to connect with others. Use Facebook and Twitter to help.

Linky love also helps bring folks to you. Both paid and free services exist explore the options. Wordless Wednesday is a good place to start.

Get to know those who comment on your friends’ blogs. These are potential friends for you.

09. Where can our readers find you? Give us the name and a link to your
blog. If you have more than one to share, we would all like that too.

My blog is Secondary Roads, and you can find it at: http://secondaryrds.com.

10. Is there anything we have not discussed that you would like to add?

Just a word of advice. Turn off the entertainment—at least for part of each day. Find beauty and joy in each day. Help make your world a better place.

Thank you, Chuck, for the lovely nature walk at Secondary Roads. And thank you to Sylvia, your lovely wife, for making us feel so at home. Each of the posts on Secondary Roads offers more insight into your serenity. I am sure each reader will feel it too.

 Do you write a nature related blog and you'd like to be interviewed by Nature Center Magazine? Click the link and let us know who you are and that you'd like to be featured in a Nature Walk: Interview Me.


  1. Thanks again for the opportunity to appear on Nature Center Magazine. I enjoyed the interviews. Just one thing . . . my wife's name is Sylvia.

  2. I am so sorry. I must have read something wrong. Sylvia, I apologize to you also. I have only one daughter who is close to being 40 years old. In her whole life I have called by my youngest sister's name most of the time. I am afraid I am quite careless with names. At any rate thank you both for your hospitality. It was a lovely nature walk. Now I have to figure out who Martha is.

  3. Great interview with Chuck! He's living the kind of life that takes time to soak in the beauty around him. And spreading the joy of his garden to friends!

    1. I really enjoyed his responses. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Lovely interview with a fascinating man.

    Oh, Happy birthday!

    1. Thank you for your comments. He is indeed interesting. And thank you.

  5. Great interview with Chuck! How wonderful to retire in such a beautiful setting. I'll bookmark your eMag for further reading.

    1. I agree that Chuck and Sylvia have the right idea. And they are making the most of it. It is good to hear that you will visit us. We try to give you interesting things to learn about nature. We all enjoy nature... we just do not always stop to realize it. Thank you for commenting.


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