Last semester, my friend took me to Red Bud Isle, an open-leash dog park around the edge Town Lake, that blew me away with its beauty. Choosing a place to make observations when we were assigned this project was simple, because the view of the lake and the trees around the area (especially during fall/winter) are incomparable.
“The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as land” -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Human connection to nature and the outdoors is something I feel has been progressively lost as society changes. Nowadays, people are spending so much time indoors or attached to computers and smartphones that they fail to see much of the of the amazing nature around them. Since I’m from out of the area and love outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, etc.), I have made it my mission to explore Austin’s many famous parks and nature areas for the next couple of years. Red Bud was actually the first park that I ever visited here in Austin. Thanks to my Austin-native friend, I found a place where can I go to relax, read, or chill with a couple of friends. This blog will consist of journal entries I’ve made while sitting on the edge of Town Lake at Red Bud.
It’s a beautiful, sunny day today. It’s the first time in over a week where it’s been sunny and 70 degrees, so I’m glad i could actually enjoy going outside to observe nature instead of freezing to death. A light breeze passes every few minutes, shaking the barren branches of the large tree above me and tossing the leaves around on the ground.
The tree I sit under is absolutely massive. I chose this particular spot at the park because of this tree, actually. It provides a comfortable shady area looking out on the lake, with a large stone beside it that I can sit on and do my writing. The tree’s thick trunk and protruding roots tell me that it’s been around for ages. It’s surrounded by many other smaller trees (perhaps offspring from the seeds it’s dropped over the years?) and it’s nearly impossible to tell where the old tree’s roots begin and end; they completely circle the tree in a 20 foot perimeter, tangling with other roots and reaching into the lake water. The park is pretty noisy today – many people took their dogs out for the nice weather. The sun set around 5:30 and got cold again, so I suppose that’s all I will write for today since I’m wearing shorts.
Sitting under the same tree once again, I’ve noticed that there’s little to no wildlife in this area. Trees and bushes are plentiful, but as far as animal activity goes, this place is pretty barren. The occasional chirp of a bird in the distance or splashing of a fish out of water is all I can observe. I wonder why there aren’t many animals in this area? It could be the somewhat isolated location of the Isle, or perhaps the human activity from the Lake Austin Dam that overlooks the area has driven much of the wildlife out. That’s something I’ll be sure to take notes on during my observations here.
After sitting out for a while longer, I finally see some animal life with my own eyes! A group of turtles sit out on a fallen piece of wood in the water. It’s not much, but it’s something! I tried to take a picture but couldn’t get very close:
A couple of ducks flew across the lake as I looked out on it, but still no real signs of bird or any other animals. I can’t even seem to see many fish – could the water quality be effecting the amount of life in the area? Definitely something else to think about.