This month has been fraught with weather changes, intense rain, and seasonal changes. We were able to experience four seasons in 31 days. On my first visit to Blunn Creek, it was 45 degrees Fahrenheit, cold, windy, and overall miserable. My surroundings, however, seemed unaware of the winter-weather. The scarlet Nandina berries look like ornaments decorating the entire preserve. Their presence is fitting for the season. I began my observations at the top of the dormant volcano, seated under a Juniperus Virginiana. My view stretched across the slope towards campus. In the distance I could hear the rustle of wildlife, possibly a bird or rabbit exploring the brush looking for lunch. Because of the harsh weather, I did not investigate these sounds.
My second visit reflects the sudden weather changes we had been experiencing. It was 75 degrees and sunny without a cloud in the sky. I sat under the same tree as a hope to observe the area more thoroughly. It was here I discovered shells scattered around the base of the tree, the only evidence left of our hills’ aquatic past. The extremely uncomfortable shells act as reminders of how much our planet has changed. From my seat I could see a small rabbit steadily hopping across the shells from one bush to another. The rabbit had become so comfortable with my presence it did not even flinch when I turned my page. It continued its journey from bush to bush. Of course there is no way to determine what its intentions are with this journey although one can assume the rabbit is looking for adequate shelter for the quickly approaching night. Like the rabbit, I too retreated to my shelter for the night.
A few days later I decided to explore the surrounding area. The perfect spring weather had left the earth damp and the skies clear. Once I reached the creek I was entranced by the fast moving current and the seeming order of everything. As Aldo Leopold compares the beauty of such areas to a painting. He writes, “Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes.” The part of the creek I explored, however, had obviously been visited by humans before me. The wall of rocks beside me was covered in graffiti, some beautiful and some lewd. The bank below me was littered with cigarette buds, chip bags, and water bottles. These human influences scarred the otherwise beautiful creek. After cleaning the area as best I could, I sat down to observe the creek. There was little life as I assume most of the animals had been scared away and the plants had been trampled by past visitors. Even though disturbed by humans, the creek moved as if nothing in the world mattered and I found that beautiful.
My final visit to Blunn Creek was in the evening after a day of school work and stress. I found that being surrounded by nature calmed this stress and helped me think through a lot of things happening in my life. I sat by the volcano again. From this point I was able to see all of the places I had visited that month. The creek bubbled and flowed, the rabbits continued their adventures, the shells protected the plants, and the evidence of human activity was everywhere.