Heffernan, Final Blog 2014

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REVIEW OF THE SEMESTER

Looking back at all of my blogs from every month this semester, it is really interesting to see the aspects of nature that I tended to focus in on my runs and the gradual changes that occurred in these areas. One area that I found I focused on a lot was the temperature. This was due in part because Texas has some crazy bipolar weather all of the time, but also because when you’re running, you notice every little degree higher. At the start of the semester, Texas was still scorching. Because of this I had to take my runs in the morning or late at night. As the months progressed, however, my change in running times mirrored the changing temperature. It never got too cold that I couldn’t run, but the cooler fall weather during winter time allowed me to run in the middle of the day and feel completely comfortable.

Another aspect that I tended to focus on was the scenery as well as the sounds. When my runs began, Texas was green and alive and buzzing. The grass and wildflowers and crickets were in full bloom. My runs were filled with the smell of grass and wildflowers, the sound of bugs and birds humming in the trees, and the beautiful sight of wildlife all around. Bull Creek at this time was absolutely stunning. We had various periods of rainfall, so the plants and streams were well fed and growing wildly. While sometimes the heat was oppressive underneath the canopy of the trees on the trail, when I came out onto the riverbed, the world was wide and alive and beautiful. There was an outcrop of rock in the middle of the running river that I could jump to, and from there I felt invincible. The sound of the waterfall rushing by me on both sides filled my ears and the river opened up and stretched far into the trees. This was probably my favorite spot in all of my runs.

The noises were beautiful too. In the summer and the heat there was a nervous buzzing to the trees and the grass. The world was alive and growing. In the fall however, there was a peaceful quite all around. There were less pesky bugs to bite and crawl all over you in the fall, the animals are saving up food and energy for the coming winter, and the fallen leaves coating the ground padded my running footsteps. Whereas the hotter months were filled with buzzing energy, the fall is filled with a calm that extends beyond nature and calms me.

The changing of leaves was another aspect that I focused on, especially at Bull Creek. The shift of color was gradual at first, with leaves slowly losing their intense green to a yellow, then a fade to browns. And then all at once it seemed, those faded leaves of summer burst into the brilliant yellows, oranges and reds of fall.

With finals week coming to an end, I can definitely say that I am thankful for the beautiful fall Texas weather, and for my study breaks spent running. Getting outside and away from the stress of everything is the one thing that’s gotten me through this week. It’s amazing how getting lost in the trees can be so calming.

 

WORD CLOUD

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The contents of the word cloud come as no surprise to me, but it makes me wonder about all of the way that these words were used. The three largest words by far are creek, nature, and water. Seeing as our assignment was to spend an hour in nature every week, it’s no surprise that that is the number one word used. Apparently though, we’re not a very creative bunch when it comes to synonyms. The next grouping size of words includes around, see, different and small. This grouping makes me think that people were really looking all around them and noticing all of the different and small things surrounding them. The next size includes beautiful, which is completely accurate. I feel like a lot of people don’t normally take the time to sit and observe the world around them, so when they do, they can finally realize all of the beauty that nature holds. Texas itself is a special kind of beautiful. Our warm weather allows for a wide variety of plants and insects, each one different than the other, but all still beautiful. Morning was also a part of this grouping size, which makes me happy as well, because it means hopefully that people were going out and experiencing the beauty and peace of the morning. My morning runs were some of my favorites. It was the perfect way to start my day. My mind was clear and the world was fresh, and the days that I started with a run on the trail were almost always better days.

One word on there that I thought would be bigger is changes. In Texas, our weather changes its mind about three times a day. When you wake up it’s fall, by lunchtime it’s spring, and by nighttime it’s winter. When you leave the house you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather. This includes not only temperature, but rain as well. Texas likes to keep us guessing with sporadic rain showers, which range from a light drizzle to torrential downpour in the matter of minutes. Apart from temperature, the color of the leaves has undergone a major change as well. As I explained earlier, we were able to witness the beautiful shifting from summer to fall to winter in Texas.

From looking at the contents of the word cloud, it is clear that the students actually took the time to sit and observe nature, and that is a beautiful thing in itself.

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