From the BlogBecome a Member

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Learning to See

spicebush larvae two

Learning to see involves knowing how and where to look. It requires developing a mental template, or the term I prefer, a searching image. I started to understand this concept decades ago while trying to find shark teeth on an island off the Georgia coast. Although this particular beach was known to have shark teeth […]

Tales from Bent Twig Trail: A Scent of Late Summer

wild citronella in flowerJPG

Wild citronella, Collisonia canadensis has been capturing my eye on all of my recent hikes.  If you have been following my blog regularly, you may know that  I tend to scratch-and-sniff my way along the trail.  For this reason, I have been anticipating our wild citronella coming into bloom, and today was the day! Of […]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Hidden Jewels


  The natural world is full of hidden jewels, and late summer is a great time to seek out some specific ones along the Bent Twig Trail. Today, let’s explore patches of jewelweed, Impatiens capensis that skirt the wetter portions of this trail. At Bernheim, I often find jewelweed growing at the edge of the woods […]

Tales from Bent Twig Trail: The Seed

Summer has progressed into its season of fullness, with seeds forming and  ripening along the Bent Twig Trail and elsewhere. In honor of this annual regeneration, I offer you a poem I  wrote a few months ago. Seed By Wren Smith A seed is dormant most of its life. Time does not exist inside the […]

Tales from Bent Twig Trail: Pleasant Surprises

Virginia Pine

  Walking the Bent Twig Trail regularly helps me experience or discover surprises that I might have missed otherwise. Look what I found – indian pipes, Monotropa uniflora! Because these strange plants are nearly all white, they are sometimes called ghost plants. Although they resemble some sort of strange fungi, indian pipes are actually flowering plants.  However, […]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Spicing it up.

spicebush leaves

There is nothing like a walk in the woods to remind us “there’s more to life than meets the eye.” The sense of smell is particularly good at conjuring up layers of experience and emotions. Dianne Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses, explains that our sense of smell developed from the oldest […]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: Bridging the Gap

trail and bridge

 I’m thinking about bridges today, perhaps because Bent Twig Trail  has several of them. Each one spanning the ephemeral creek that snakes its way in this small forest fragment. In my role as the Interpretive Programs Manager for Bernheim, I have the great fortune not only of working in a beautiful place, but I also […]

Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: A Meditative Morning

morning ligth

“Mornings are my favorite time of day, but it’s a shame they only last til noon,” my friend Joyce Fry announced a few years ago during a shared morning hike. Being one of the lucky ones who sleeps soundly and wakes up early, refreshed by the mysterious and restorative  power of a good night’s rest, […]