“Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals.”- Aldo Leopold
As anyone in Texas knows October weather is almost as perfect as we are going to get. The temperature in any given day usually fluctuates between 55 in the early morning and 85 in the late afternoon. This awesome weather better inspire you to be outside! Anyway this month I had many unique opportunities to observe happenings in the outdoors with picnics, Austin City Music Festival, and other random outings.
I started off my observation for this month on the same path between St. Edward’s University and Forest Creek Apartments, where some of my friends live. It was very hot on this day (10/1) and at 4:30 it was 85 degrees. First I came across a cactus patch that I looked at last semester, it seems to be retaining its green pigment well even with the changing seasons. The surrounding brush is slowly losing its color.
I’m convinced this forest has some very unique residents. Since starting to walk on these paths through the forest, I have noticed this pair of chairs (always unoccupied) being moved to different places. This time my friend Emily and I decided to sit down and just talk for a little while until we finished our Yerba Mates. As usual, the squirrels gave us company from a short distance and bees flew to claim the mate (a traditional South American tea…try it!!) as their own. I love watching bees, but get flustered and anxious when they are very close to me. I really like how they seem to be friends with each other as compared to wasps who I typically see working solo. In my opinion, the “friendless” wasp is more frightening.
Another opportunity to “observe” nature was October 11th during Austin City Music Festival at Austin’s metropolitan Zilker Park. It was my third year attending the festival and frankly I was appalled by the festival’s ecological impact. Heavy thunderstorms ravaged through Austin the entire night before. The wet ground and 75,000 daily visitors completely ruined the park. It made me wonder if any studies had been done to calculate the damage done and time it will take Zilker to recover.
The only observation I made the entire day was on the detrimental effects thousands can have even on a large park. The picture below describes the day very vividly. People tripped and fell through the mud repeatedly before making it to their favorite music acts. Don’t get me wrong the music and company was fantastic; the park was not. Friends who went the day before even told me the park was still completely grassy then even after the first weekend’s crowd had already been there. I think in the future ACL needs to find another location that is not ruined by the weather/crowd combination.
My FAVORITE day this month was October 4th. I had a picnic outside, which I am walking to in the video. I even skipped my internship at my environmental non-profit to sit outside and do my homework on campus. All the leaves and plants are softening because it was the first day below 80 degrees. The thorny plants of the summer are finally disappearing and I can walk barefoot through the grass again!!