My Bernheim Story: Steve Lathan

By Bernheim

My Bernheim story has to do with sustainability. After my wife and I retired, leaving a busy life of raising our children with both of us working full-time, we needed a place to seek renewal. It seems, oftentimes in this busy world with all of life’s demands, one can feel like they have lost their perspective. Finding Bernheim for us, and me in particular, was a timely meeting. It was here, over the years, that I was able to walk in nature’s solitude and revisit my life’s journey. It was here I could be alone with my Creator, who is the Creator of all I beheld. As John Muir so wisely said,  “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” As I slowed down and began to take in all of my natural surroundings, a restoration began to unfold and to Bernheim I am ever indebted. What a treasure.

For me, learning to see has been a life long journey I began as a young man with a 35mm film camera. In the picture below I captured of a Bernheim autumn, everything I was feeling came together in one visual act of renewal and sustainability. The bench facing towards me was an open invitation to sit and rest as I soaked up the sounds of birds busily calling out to the fall chill in the air. The earth below supported the standing trees rooted deeply, as the autumn leaves fell around me. Exposed roots within the creek spoke so eloquently of nourishment and grounding.  Reflections within the clear water, with the exposed roots and the fall leaves filled with color, all reminded me of this sustained circle of life. Also, that for me it wasn’t an ending, but only another new beginning.

Bernheim is a real treasure and I will never tire of walking through its forests and trees. It offers us all a place to leave this troubled busy world and grow. It really is a self sustained micro-niche in an often very hectic and busy world. In its sustainability it also sustains us, if we will allow it. In closing, I would like to offer another quote by John Muir. It has to do with our stewardship and care of what has been entrusted to us.  “God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” Bernheim to me is a place I was allowed to find renewal.  As it has sustained me it also wants to sustain itself if only given half a chance. May we all give it that chance, for upon us this trust has been left to honor and protect.


Steve Lathan, Luv the Light Photos

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