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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nature Observations (Circa 2000)

As I was cleaning out the basment, I came across a paper of nature observations I wrote for my college Environmental Sustainability course. I knew my professor was a transendental sort of fellow so I decided to play it up Whitman stlye. I wrote this paper as sort of a joke but as I re-read it today I enjoyed it. So I'm posting it here.
I carefully nestle my foot into a nook in the snow. Beautiful yet deceiving snow, I keep in mind it has betrayed me before by harboring secret patches of slick ice. Scanning the ground for safe perches, I discover the rogue ice is confining prisoner bubbles of air. These dime-size bubbles march along the ventral surface of the ice like an inverted army. Mesmerized by their diligence, I stare as hundreds of hostages roll out from beneath the snow caps gliding towards freedom from the cold captivity.

A sudden chill jostles my focus back to my journey. As I reach my destination of the quaint bridge on the South Fork, I'm painfully aware of the low temperatures. Resentment begins to well in me for being forced into this treck. I close my eyes, with the intent to hydrate my eyeballs, but become entangled in the rushing gossamer sound of the river. It liquidates my discontent. The river is preforming to cheer me up; slipping, gliding, and toppling are puppeteers causing twigs to jig and waltz over eddies and ripples.

Reality is tugging at me. I resist. It insists.

Walking back, I glumly organize my obligations and separate myself from my surroundings. However, a meek drumming sneaks into my consciousness and forces me to seek out its origin. My searching eyes settle on a humble woodpecker. His beat strengthens. This bird launches his head forward and balances with his tail in cadence. He peeks and pivots his feet creating a glorious patter of shifts and thrusts combined with rythmic knocks. I cannot rebuke this humble creature, so I dance with him.

The memory of this little beast lingers with me until spring when it is replaced by tootling song birds. Robins, finches, and meadow larks practicing their twisting peppy tunes to pefection. Conifers lose their green uniqueness as the deciduous trees reclaim their glory of full broad leaves.

Lying on my back I stare at the budding hardwoods, and hope to glimpse the jovial vocalists. The grass smells of childhood: grazing horses, pond-goo potions, and T-ball practice. Surface moisture saturates my back contrasting my sun-parched face. In an effort to equalize, I hoist myself over.

Once again a river is tantalizing me. Big Falls River lures me with its majestic breadth and intriguing crannies. Dipping my feet into the water, I admire the rocks carved by such purposeful chance. Each dark boulder is streaked with white. Red flashes at me from a sandy bank. Again, I'm winked at by a river inhabitant. Investigation reveals three beautiful salmon: all large and dignified. They swim up at the same rate the river pours down, frozen in physics. Tempted, I reach to catch one, but they, scolding my arrogance, disappear.


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