This Month's Adventures

As I ventured out these past few weeks to observe the nature that is around me, one word came to mind: beauty. I would like to begin my post with a related quote from the Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. He writes, “Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty” (96). For someone like me who usually does not spend a lot of time observing my natural surroundings, the beautiful is what mostly caught my eye. I set out earlier in the week with an adventure to Blunn Creek with one of my friends. I had never been there prior to our class trip and I liked it so much I decided to go back, especially because it reminded me of a place at home in Green Bay, Wisconsin called Baird’s Creek. The first thing I noticed as I entered the path is the “prickly pears,” which (in more scientific terms) belong to the genus Opuntia. Although I was able to figure out the genus, I was unable to identify the exact species. They are a beautiful color: almost lime green in the sunlight. The sunlight was probably the most attractive thing that I observed while hiking. The way it shined on the creek created a gleaming sparkle. It was nice to see the sun after a week of very heavy rains, not to mention it contributed to a temperature of a solid 81 degrees. I could tell how much it had previously rained based on how muddy the trail was; my tennis shoes suffered a beating. Another indication of the rain was how hasty the creek was flowing. It was like a miniature waterfall where I was standing. The leaves around me were a combination of brown and green, evidencing the cycle of death and new life. I have to say, the green leaves are more beautiful to me than the brown leaves because they represent the ending of winter and the coming of spring. Then again, winter in Texas is not nearly as frigid as winter in Wisconsin. I continued to search for beauty, but I could not help but notice all the “ugly.” When I use the word ugly, I am referring to all the litter was was immersed in the water and along the ground. There was an old and muddy McDonald’s drink cup and an empty bag of Lays Kettle Cooked Jalepeno Chips. I am only mentioning two for the sake of getting my point across, but understand that there was much more garbage. It is somewhat unfortunate than a beautiful nature preserve has to be infested with left over, man made food containers simply because people do not pick up after themselves. Preservation begins with individuals respecting the environment. Looking back now, I wish I would have brought a garbage bag along to pick some of it up. Nevertheless, I tried as best I could to simply block out the ugly and focus on the pretty. I was hoping to see a frog or two, but all I found in the water was a few active water spiders. I did manage to find a little bundle of berries amongst the brush that caught my eye because of their peculiar blue/purple color. They looked liked miniature blueberries, but for all I know they could have been poisonous. If someone reads this post and is able to identify the species, perhaps you could comment and share your findings because I would like to know as well!

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