Quiet Moments Along the South Branch

Along the South Branch

June 2009

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The ephemeral beauty of early summer along the South Branch of the Raritan River is highlighted by a pair of fawns wading across its momentarily serene waters.

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A new born fawn lying in the cool green grass along the South Branch evokes a sense of wonder, innocence and surprise.

Quiet Moments Along the South Branch

Glancing at this pastoral photo it may be difficult to understand you are really looking at life in the fast lane.

In a scant six months the fawns will have learned most of what they need to survive in wild New Jersey. Their spotted coats will be replaced by a subtle gray-brown pelage and the female fawn may possibly be carrying fawns of her own by December.

Both animals will soon become part of a matriarchal group of grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins.   A lead doe will emerge to rule the hierarchical group and an obvious apprentice in training will mimic the lead doe’s behavior as part of a natural succession plan. These matriarchal groups are quite territorial and it is not unusual to see lead does rearing up to box with a rival.

By the autumn mating season the tribal herds tend to disperse as food supplies dwindle and mature bucks begin to search for receptive mates. A single buck will breed as many does as possible. Does tend to cycle about every 28 days or so with the peak breeding season in New Jersey calculated to be around the second week in November. The does will regroup after the mating season and sometimes form larger herds in an alliance to broaden territories and have access to sufficient forage and cover.

The spent bucks begin to gather in bachelor groups often joined by last spring’s male fawns and recuperate from breeding season in isolation from the does. The pregnant does will seek solitude to birth their fawns in late May to early June as the cycle of life among the white tailed deer continues.

The turmoil and urgency of life lies beneath the surface of calm summer waters in a never ending rhythm of energy and consequence. The quiet moments in nature draw us in and invite a communion with the distant places in our heart. It is in that moment of awareness we discover all of nature exists within each of us and we are all bound by the same flow of energy. With that realization it becomes impossible to act in a way which does not affect the world around us, not just in this moment, but forever. Enjoy the quiet moments in Nature and allow its energy to stir your soul.

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About winterbearrising

Winterbearrising@wordpress.com "I hope you enjoy this website. A lifetime living along the Raritan River has gifted me daily with nature's wisdom, medicine and beauty. My home state of New Jersey has a reputation as industrial, congested and polluted, devoid of nature. If I can show you the natural beauty that abounds here in the most congested state in the United States, imagine what is in your backyard! I hope my articles and photographs will prompt you to see nature in your part of the world. I encourage questions and comments you may have about nature and wildlife”. Joe Bio for JJ Mish Joe has been running wild in New Jersey since childhood when he found ways to escape his mother’s watchful eyes. He continues to trek the swamps, rivers and thickets seeking to share, with the residents and visitors, all of the state’s natural beauty hidden within full view. Joe’s photographic intentions range from historic documentation of ephemeral wild moments to portraiture revealing the energy and dignity of the creatures that covertly exist among us. What the camera misses the words capture, what the camera sees the words enhance. Through his writings and photography, Joe hopes to enlighten us to enjoy the gifts of nature. Many of Joe's photographs and accompanying articles have been published locally, in books and other media. Graduate of Rutgers College of Agriculture and Environmental Science/ Cook College. Worked as veterinary assistant at Warner Bros Jungle Habitat and International Animal Exchange charged with capture, care and shipping of exotic animals . Johnson&Johnson pharmacology and clinical research departments for 27 years. Nature photojournalist for SuperAgingtoday radio program. Columnist for Branchburg News publishing monthly artices and photos featuring local nature and wildlife. Winterbearrising The introduction to my book in progress, New Jersey’s Natural Treasures Hidden in Plain View: A thousand mile journey down a ten mile stretch of river, provides an insight into my work. Beyond that, simply enjoy the beauty of nature or just know it exists in full bloom in your community and stop there or feel the gravitational pull of curiosity and seek more knowledge about the natural world that contains the basis for all knowledge and holds it in perspective. Today New Jersey enjoys a natural inheritance that is the sum of the legacy left by generations of agrarian, industrial and residential development. Sacrificed in the name of progress, our natural and wild treasures are reputed to have been diminished to a vanishing point in the wake of the great human juggernaut. However, despite New Jersey's recurring reputation as the most densely populated state in the union, wildlife is found to proliferate along its river corridors, highways, woods and fields. Much of this wildlife existed before the establishment of farms, whose disappearance falsely signals the surrender to unabated construction and development. The farms and the cows are actually late-arriving interlopers, highly visible and used as a convenient but inaccurate measure of our intrinsic wild and natural resources, to provide politically subjective land use decisions. The intent of this book is to raise an awareness of the extent and variety of wild treasures that go unnoticed in arguably the most sanitized natural environment in the nation. The logic being, that if these wild treasures can exist in New Jersey, what natural wealth might exist in other cities and states. Stop and lose a moment of time in awe of nature's beauty and learn to appreciate the very real, positive physical changes that occur in your body and seep into your attitude. The beauty of nature is compensation enough for the price of admission but there is so much more available for harvest along the South Branch and everywhere in the world its waters may flow. Even the most ardent nature-oriented residents are often oblivious to the richness and distribution of this state’s natural treasures. Regional areas, reputed as nature destinations, add to obscure our natural treasures as their existence implies an absence of nature except where designated. Combine this with the perspective of the nature-neutral and nature-oblivious residents and it is understandable how the nature sterilized image of New Jersey arises from within and grows with distance to earn a national and global reputation as “the ghost of nature past”. The animals shown in this book are selected emissaries chosen to represent the much larger and more expansive natural community. They offer an insider's view into the daily behavior of a parallel and wild world that goes largely unnoticed and rarely considered. The detail and depth of our observations are determined by our prejudice and limited expectation. Open your heart and mind to see a rich natural world that many believe no longer exists, especially in the shadow of development cast by the cities and towns in every state across our country. Taken together the photos represent a glimpse into the community of natural treasures that are hidden in plain sight and scattered far beyond the borders of New Jersey.
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