(Photos by Bre Ellis)
Description of Second Place (Leopold): Pond in Milford, CT
The soft rays of the sun whirl through the ripples of water gently grazing up against the shore of the pond. The water does not rush or wave or lap, it simply moves, gently swaying with its own vibrations. Some buds of surrounding trees are bare, while many leaves cling onto their branches, twisting in the wind that has pulled so many to rest quietly on the floor of the pond. This pond I have found shows that nature and people are reflections of one another. While we move with nature and we collide with it, we also mimic. Like us, nature is never alone. The geese that stop to rest on the water float on together, and if not for how close they stay, one could not tell one flock – one family – from each other. They fill the pond with life and movement: the flapping of their wings reverberates across the water, a sporadic sharp honk following. The ducks that share this space travel in their pairs: the green-headed male paddling next to his brown-speckled mate. Nature is families, just as people are. The families of nature create a warm nostalgia: a remembrance of why I have returned to this very place in geography and this place in time. It is to my own family and home that I have returned to. The feeling of home is that drop in the pit of your stomach that makes you scrunch up your shoulders as if embracing yourself in the wave of warmth that comes from family. This pond has shown that this warmth of family is not limited by species. It is the geese and the ducks. It is the empty shell of a beehive and a bird’s nest found hanging in the trees above, both evident of a family that has moved on together, to find a new place, always filled by the warm energy of togetherness.
Comparison of Milford, CT to Burlington, VT (Holland)
Milford is a few paces behind Burlington when it comes to the shifting of the season from autumn to winter. The deciduous trees still cling to their leaves, whereas the trees of Burlington have been bare for a few weeks now. The water of Centennial Brook in Burlington moves much more deliberately in comparison to the stillness of the pond, which has allowed green algae to grow along its surface. Wildlife is much more active at the pond in Milford, however, with Canada geese, ducks, and swans splashing in its waters. Evidence of other wildlife is also clearer, with a bird’s nest and beehive visible within the trees. Squirrels are much more active and abundant in Milford, whereas chipmunks are much more typical of Burlington, but both spend their time dashing through the leaves, burying or searching for nuts and food. Burlington is much denser with trees, and pine needles blanket the ground. Milford Pond is in a more suburban area, and although the pond is natural, its surrounding nature is contained by houses and roads. The water of Centennial Brook is sheltered by the trees, while the much larger pond is exposed to more sunlight. The bank of the brook is much wider and takes up a larger surface area of the place in comparison to that of the pond. The slope of the forest of the Burlington place drops off to the bank, which stretches several feet, while the Milford place is much flatter, and transitions almost directly from grass to pond. The yellow birch, sugar maples, and Eastern White Pines of the Burlington place are not held in common with Milford, although both share a White Oak.