Full greenery has taken over the Greenbelt. The tree branches are thicker with leaves and I have to push through them to get to the riverbed. My rustling causes squirrels to scamper around in the trees, their tiny feet digging into bark as they run up. The air is crisp and humid today and more birds than ever are calling all around me. This is truly a spring day.
Stepping into the riverbed I have confirmed that there is still a lack of water to be found. The puddles that were previously there were dried out as well. The skies look a bit overcast today so maybe a storm will bless the area with a rain. This area is actually pretty fascinating in that the forest is so thick and flourishing, but where a river should be there is just bone dry limestone. It is a clash of life and death, in a way.
The moist wind washed over me as I climbed to my favorite place, the cliff above the riverbed. I have become familiar with the stones on the way up: which ones had the best grooves to grip, which footholds supported me as I hoisted myself further up. My trust in the dusty boulders is equivalent to the trust I share with a close friend. They feel eternal and unmoving, though I know with time they will be weathered and change, just like all things do. Finally on top I decide to sit on an edge I had not been to yet and let my feet hang down. It was a nice adrenaline rush as I looked out over the greenery, that hum from the highway still there as always, the wind rustling the woods, the clouds slowly passing over the land.
This is the last time I will return to my spot at the Greenbelt until next spring. It has become one of the places closest to my heart in Austin. Returning repeatedly to experience sights, sounds, and all other feelings has let it become a part of me. I cannot see how someone could walk upon this land and see it as realty, as a thing to tear up and make money off of. As Leopold said, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” It is places like the Greenbelt, ones which are less tampered with, ones that stretch for miles and swallow us, that remind us that we are one with the earth and do not own it. I hope the Greenbelt stays protected for longer than I am around because people need places like this to make them realize this reality that we are a community with nature.