For this month, I visited Blunn Creek Nature Preserve for the first two weeks of September, then explored the land I live on for the last two weeks. It was nice to get out to somewhere new and also go back to somewhere old. I haven’t been dow to “The Bottom” in a long time. We call our land that because it is the furthest back part of the property, as well as at the bottom of a hill we live on.
During the first two weeks, there had been little rain and exploring Blunn Creek was nice with the shade of some clouds. Without shade however quickly drew sweat. The park began with dried grasses and cacti nearest the road but as I went deeper and closer to the water, large trees and green plants became dominantly prevalent. I suppose the water and the shade of the trees brought along more plants and brush. The creek itself, from what I had time to see, was shallow and clear, although with a slight green tint. Inside the water I found lively tadpoles and insects. Other animals I found were rabbits and birds mostly, although I found one squirrel when it dropped pieces of a nutshell beside me, making me look up. Going towards the Volcanic Summit, the plant life dried up and became brown once more, cacti surrounding the summit.
The last two weeks of September brought me back to “The Bottom,” a place no one had been to in years because there was nothing down here but untouched land. Sometimes we used it as a shooting range but not in recent times. The path we used to have is now overgrown with small plants and ragweed dominates much of the paths edges. I found a thick patch of it (picture above), blown down in the recent storms but with much more weed behind it anyway. As was the usual years ago, larger plants were mostly Mesquite trees and Prickly Pear cactus. Much of this untouched land remained green with birds being the most common in the daylight but I am certain of snakes and coyotes becoming findable the deeper you go and at different times. I tried my best to stay on a clear path from fear of snakes.
An interesting thought that past through my mind while outside was when does that moment hit; that moment where you lose the need for instant satisfaction that society demands, the moment where your walking pace instinctively slows enough to where you start seeing the world before the world sees you, and you can finally notice all the little things. This happened towards the top of the Blunn Creek summit for me. I was worried about making it back in time for class, how hot it was, etc. but after 20 minutes or so the world slowed down and I felt relaxed and open. I stopped hearing my footsteps and instead I heard the squirrel eating the nut, or the creek in the distance, or the birds hopping from branch to branch. It’s a beautiful thing and it should happen every time someone goes outside. It’s happening more and more to me as my life focuses more on nature, hiking, etc. and I believe it’s just a first step to what Environmental Science can bring. As said in A Sand County Almanac: “A deep understanding of our place in the long scheme of things not only makes the world a more interesting place, but gives us direction and a basis for ethical human behaviour.”