A light-weight to information timber and other people: “The Star within the Sycamore” is a broad tackle the pure world
From Chioma Lewis
When Tom Springer became interested in stargazing, he walked down the street he lives on in Three Rivers, Michigan to watch the stars.
He realized that a telescope was giving him a limited perspective.
“All a telescope does is focus on something small and narrow,” he said.
To find something as big as a constellation, you need a broader perspective. And Springer found one when he came across a sycamore maple with branches like a goal post. It’s the tree featured on the cover of his new book, “The Star in the Sycamore: Discovering the Hidden Virtues of Nature in the Wilderness Nearby” (Mission Point Press, US $ 10.77).
Recently, the Library of Michigan collection of nature essays was selected as one of the 2021 Michigan Notable Books. The stories describe what Springer thinks of the seven seasons.
As Springer puts it, these seven seasons “are no less accurate than the calendar-related rigidity of spring, summer, autumn and winter.
“Does anyone really think that summer will start on June 21st? No, the first ripe strawberries from Michigan tell me summer, just like a sumac that flames bright red in an August fencer sends up the first semaphore flag of autumn, ”he writes.
Springer is the founder of Sunfish Consulting, a company that provides executive communication support to universities, nonprofits, and private foundations. But he is also a nature writer and journalist. 12 years ago he wrote his first book “In Search of Hickories: The Forgotten Wilderness of the Rural Midwest”.
This book was inspired by the adventures resulting from trying to repair an old farmhouse, restore nature, and raise a family, he said.
Since then he has written many nature essays, but tried to summarize them all in another book
“If you’re trying to create something from scratch, you can’t always force it,” Springer said.
The connection between trees and the stars he observed while looking at the stars helped.
“When you write a collection of essays, it’s about experiences that are happening to you and sometimes you can’t plan them,” said Springer.
Every tree that has ever lived has a shape shaped by its response to the light, Springer said. He captures this thought in an essay titled “A Safe, Quiet Road to Glory.”
“The tree was shaped by a star, like any tree the world has ever known. Trees are little more than light incarnated. Starlight (sunlight if you prefer) first heats the ground to attract a tree seed from the ground. From there, the sunlight shapes the course of its woody ascent upwards. “
Like a tree, Springer began to think about how people are shaped by the light in their life and how this light allows them to grow and develop.
“We all have times in our lives when we don’t see the light, when we stumble through the darkness trying to find our way,” he said.
Springer said the book, which came out in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic emerged, did it on time.
People were looking for habits to bring them peace, health, and relaxation, he said. Nature has a powerful ability to do this.
“Some of the relaxation that comes from living in nature can be found in a good book on nature writing,” he said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he saw more people outdoors, spent time in nature walking, cycling, and visiting parks.
Many people were forced to slow down in 2020 and realize how much we mask the natural world with technology and how effective it can be to visit a local park or something right in our own backyard, he said.
“As your world gets smaller, pay more attention to the world in front of you,” said Springer. “The natural world is beautiful, it is interesting, it distracts our attention and takes us away from the blue screen that we know is too stimulating.”
The daily habit of going outside and being attentive enables people to observe things in the area that they have never noticed before, he said. This includes the smell of the trees or the habits of the wildlife.
“Nature is so powerful and part of who we are that even reading about it can bring us that peace,” said Springer. “And it can give us insights into things to look for the next time we’re out there.”