Rainey, September 2014

Ah, September.  Temperatures are still quite hot this month, but getting cooler.  September happens to be one of the busiest months of my life for various reasons, so my observations of nature came from my own backyard, so to speak.  As a busy college student, I sometimes need to take a break from the loud, technology-filled, deadline-centric buzz and breathe in some fresh air.  It is times like this that I choose to stroll about campus in the middle of the night, and I felt that this was also a great way to complete my land ethic assignment.

One of the main perks that draws me to these excursions is the serene peace offered by the late hour.  This month, my walks typically took place around midnight-1 am.  Therefore, there were rarely any other people around to intrude upon my meditations.  There is an almost eerie feeling associated with seeing St. Edward’s campus, usually abuzz with human activity, completely empty.  It is also possible to find some beautiful views of campus that are not available through the perspective of daylight.  For example, have you ever just stared at main building at night?  It looks even more beautiful and castle-like than during the day:

main

To begin each of my strolls, I made sure to take a few moments to take in my surroundings.  I would sit on one of the benches beneath Sorin Oak in silence and just listen to the night’s symphony.  As the month progressed, this chorus began to consist more and more of the sound of crickets.  I find it interesting that although there are many different sounds surrounding me, they all seem to be a part of the background, giving me the sense that if I were to seek out the sources of the sound I would be mostly unsuccessful.  It really is a strange phenomenon that the night can be both silent and filled with sound, and that the sounds of the night are at the same tome everywhere and nowhere.  This is a beautiful paradox that seems to only be possible in nature.  It reminded me of a passage from A Sand County Almanac in which Leopold describes the music of the birds:

“No naturalist has even seen the choral act, for the covey is still on its invisible roost in the grass, and any attempt to approach automatically induces silence.”

As I said before, the temperatures in September are not quite as cool as I would like them to be.  That is another positive consequence of exploring nature at night: the lack of sunlight causes a significant drop in temperature, especially toward the end of the month as summer ended and fall officially began.

While my experiences this month were overwhelmingly pleasant, I did encounter on thing that bothered me.  As I was returning to my dorm on the night of September 28, I came across this:

litter

This cup lid was not the first piece of trash I saw during my time outdoors, and that makes me a bit angry.  in the case of this specific incident of litter, there was a trash can approximately ten feet away where it could have very easily been disposed of.  As I continue this blog throughout the semester, I am going to make a conscious effort to look out for similar incidents of litter and see if they become more or less frequent.

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