(Foreword: sorry for not posting in a while. I’ve had several posts drafted up and planned on my computer, and I’ll be posting them throughout the next few days as my time in American Nature Writing comes to a close.)
Making my way down to the lake at a brisker pace than usual, I barely stop to wave to the Muscovy Ducks before continuing down the path. My visit this morning is a brief one, and I’m hoping that it takes up only half of my break in between classes. It’s a nice day outside, the sun staying high above me, taunting me for forgetting sunscreen. Hanging a quick left, I make my way down the first wooded path available to me, determined to explore more of this man-altered wilderness before I have to return to the realm of classrooms and lectures. After my first few visits to the lake, I’ve stopped visiting with an idea of what to focus on in mind. Instead, I make my way around to areas that I haven’t been before and I let the sights and sounds that I experience guide me.
Continuing to walk, my pace slowing now as I reach a section of the woods that I have not yet viewed in detail, I find myself drawn to the scene on my right. A stream, water nimbly yet slowly bubbling around, captivates me, and I pause just to watch its movement. Split down the middle of the stream lies a tree trunk, severed from its hold on the hold and now devoid of any life that it might have once had. Surrounding by life and motion, the stillness of the tree trunk provides a cruel juxtaposition. Why it, and not any of the other trees? Despite the tree’s best efforts, water still flows underneath it, traversing on its way without a care in the world.
Tearing my eyes off of the sight, I check my watch, noting that I’m behind schedule. Venturing just a few steps further, I come to the point where the creek widens, giving way to a larger body of water, it’s lack of motion an abrupt change from the stream that feeds off of it. Contrast appears to be the name of the game with the water in this neck of the woods. The subtle undertones of wind blowing in from around me further serve to accentuate just how still the water is, as the minute motions of swaying plants are lively on the still backdrop.
Regretfully, this brings an end to my visit, as I need to head back and prepare for class. Coming to the woods and lake whenever I can fit it into my schedule has become a sort of hobby for me, as I truly do find this place relaxing. At the beginning of this project I was relatively apprehensive about having to come to this area so much, but I have come to appreciate its intricate details and placating scenery. Soles crunching the leaves below me, my feet carry me back to the buildings that occupy my vision every week, bringing me back to the land of human creation. I already cannot wait to go back.