Swope, October 2014


But in your mind you may hang up your picture, and hope that in some other summer the mood to paint may come upon the river. 

-Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

As I prepared to go out to McKinney Falls State Park, I thought about how much I was going to enjoy going out to the quiet park and take in the morning breeze. As I pulled into the park, I noticed that it was much more crowded than the last time I had been. There were cars in every spot, and I ended up having to park near the end of the lot. As I walked down to the lower falls area, I heard lots of voices coming from the falls area. As I approached, a beautiful sight was before me. There were visitors everywhere. People with kids, pets, and loved ones as far as the eye could see. Many of them were wearing bathing suits: some were swimming while others were just wading in the water.


As I walked across the submerged rocks that were once dry as a bone, a little boy approached me and asked if I had seen any more fish that needed saving. I asked him what he meant by that, and he held up a butterfly net. He told me he was going to save all the fish that couldn’t get to the deep water. At that point, I figured it would be pretty fun to look around in the crevices and see what we could find. His dad then approached the little boy and told him that he shouldn’t bother people, but I quickly interjected and told him I would love to help him out. Being an older sister brings on those kinds of feelings. The dad then said if it was okay by me, I could help him out.


The little boy and I ended up hopping from rock to rock, looking into the water and seeing if we could spot anything. We ended up “saving” about four fish before I decided I had better head on. From the river I ended up going towards the old mill, which is now just the cornerstones and crowbar. But even though it is almost completely gone, it is still a sight to behold. The beautiful plants that grow in the makeshift plotters look like they are in an organized chaos, seemingly separated from each other naturally.


From there I went down to the beach by the lagoon, one of my favorite spots. I wandered among the trees that follow the path of the creek that leads away from the lagoon and found a beautiful shady spot that was perfect for skipping rocks. I sat on a log and watched the fish swim by, wondering if any of them were saved by me or the little boy. I saw a hawk fly overhead and I tried to take a photo, but it didn’t come out very well. The wildlife in and around the creek was much more diverse than the last times I had been there, so it was relaxing to just get to view all the animals.


As I walked away from my shady oasis, I saw something jump past me. I carefully took another step forward and saw the dot jump further. I knelt down to inspect what the spot was, and I couldn’t see it until I saw it’s spots. It was a little frog, tiny as a pebble and cute as a button. I was irrationally happy to see this little frog, mostly because frogs are my spirit animal. But also it was just perfect among the pebbles of the same shade of gray. Seeing this little fella was the perfect ending to the perfect day.


With the water levels high, I ended up seeing more wildlife and people than I had ever seen out there before. That’s why I chose the quote about the beauty of a flowing river. People were out at the falls because of the water, and this quote just seemed to fit. I was so much more enthused and vitalized by the crowds of people there than any of the times before. Seeing everyone having fun in the risen water made me feel good about being a part of a beautiful day. I have hung up these pictures in my mind in the form of memories, and I look forward to adding to my collection in my upcoming visits.


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