Centennial Woods is a natural area open to the public. People go on hikes, run, bike, bird watch, etc. Often it’s a great place where people walk their dogs. It’s enjoyed not only by people at UVM but other residents and visitors. These are the ways people utilize this space.
Usually I’m pulled to stay
By a flying string
Hear birds to find
Think of flowing water
While there is a connection
There’s a distance
Voices soft and quiet
Saying it’s okay to go
You have work to do
Nature will be there when you get back
The mud molded my rough black boots as I carried myself down the trail for the last time. All I could think about was all the studying I had to do and that I had to get done quickly. I knew I had to try and inhale the scene, even with just a few breaths. I needed to make the frame something to be remembered. Most of the birds heard were in the distance. The stream water flowed faster than the previous week. This is due to the back to back days of rain that swept the streets.
To be honest, I don’t as connected to my area. Some parts of me feel sick of it. Being there feels like an obligation. I haven’t been able to keep an upbeat curious mind. I’ve been stressed with work so I haven’t been as often or for long periods of time. Last semester I took more pride in my area. I do have an appreciation and love admiring the beauty and the sounds, but I currently feel like a visitor. I know there are endless things to find in a small area but I feel I’ve dissected this space enough and I wish I could just enjoy walking there and sitting on the log, without having to have a naturalist lens.
Today I went to my spot in search to find spring plants popping up from the ground. I hadn’t found any woody plants but I did find drooping intermediate wood fern leftover from the Fall. I was excited to see them again after the winter had covered their bodies. Although I hadn’t found any new woody plants in my exact spot I walked further and found barberry. And the moss on the logs in my spot had grown back. Today I heard chickadees, white throated sparrows, as well as birds I have yet to identify.
I went to my spot on Friday morning. I could feel nature’s Vermont Spring was approaching. It was warmer, I had to take my coat off and tie it around my waist. There was no snow nor ice on the grounds just old leaves including oak, aspen, and beech. The log I drop my pack beside was slippery. I had expected there to be more birds out near the ground but most still flew near the canopies. There were a lot of chickadees flying near ground. I eventually found most of the birds I heard from a distance in the tangled branches crowding the floodplain in the narrow stream further downstream. White throated sparrow, American goldfinch, and black capped chikadees were chasing each other through their playground. Their wings fluttered fast disappearing in the many shrubby trees, soaking in the warmer weather.
Yesterday. Opened with chirps and fluttering birds through woody plants. Ice patches covered any parts of the trail. I felt like I was playing lava on the playground trying to avoid the ice. There’s this fear, fear of slipping and falling into something prickly or into the stream. I had to go around where the leaves were, carefully observing the cracks, holding onto tree bark as I stepped forward. It took about twenty minutes to maneuver myself to my spot. I tripped twice. Heard Pileated woodpeckers peck, with the weather changing they are starting to come out of their holes. Cardinals fly somewhere in the distance behind the stream. So many songs, circulate the air like blood. Today. I still feel sore.
Just letting you know. The video at the bottom of the NYC pictures/videos is a White-throated Sparrow. WordPress isn’t saving my caption.
What makes both my spots special is that dogs are walked all around me. In Riverside they walk along the path on the top side and bottom side of the hill as well as down or up the hill. In Centennial I would often see dogs walking along the path as well. I found a dog print in the mud at Riverside.