Swope, November 2014

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It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever. –Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

When I woke up that morning, I had planned out my day. I was going to go across the dry riverbed and hike the Homestead Trail, take photos of the autumn foliage, and see what kind of wildlife I would be able to find on this warm day. It had been raining all week and I thought that would mean lots of animals would be out, drying off and enjoying the warmth of the long gone sun.

When I walked down to the trailhead, I realized my plans for the day were going to have to change. All the sand that I was used to seeing was now mud, and there were small little puddles in all the carved crevices of limestone. But most notably, there was the sound of rushing water. As I approached the river, I noticed it was much, much louder than the last time I had been there, and when I got down to the falls, I was shocked by what I was seeing.

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The river was going over the lower falls at maximum capacity (to see how powerful it was, click on the link to the video). Where I had once stood to take photos of the tiny trickling waterfalls was completely submerged in the river. The trailhead was on the opposite side of this raging water, so I decided my plans would have to change. So instead of walking the Homestead Trail, I chose to walk alongside the river and get some photos of the wildlife and fall foliage.

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In all honesty, the park never looked so cozy as it did just then, with the river running through the base of the trees and the trees finally painted orange, yellow, and red. It looked like home a little bit, and I was happy that it finally felt like fall, even if I was wearing shorts. The river was completely churned with dirt, so I couldn’t see how many fish and other water creatures there were, but I knew they must have been loving this change of pace. I think that most of the wildlife was on the other side of the river; I didn’t see any animals besides dogs during my walk up and down the bank.

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This must have been the most photogenic time of year for the park, and you could tell with all the people that were visiting with cameras. Everyone wanted to get photos of the park because of the change of season. But the river added a new beauty to the park, one that people don’t get to see every all the time. It was like a new landscape, and in reality, a new landscape might form now that the river has crossed through.

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I don’t know what my spot will look like now that the river has overflown. Maybe it has washed away the island, or changed the scenery in some way. But it will be different, and this is due to the rise of the river. The painter has erased some aspects of the park, carrying it away in its grasp. However, by doing so, it has made a new masterpiece, and we will be able to see it once the river is back to its old levels. And I for one can’t wait to see the new masterpiece.

 

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