Slaying the Dragon, by Abby Heubler

Last week, I participated in a UDaB program with the Allegheny Mountain Institute in the mountains of western Virginia. The organization runs a fellowship program where fellows work on the mountain farm for six months and learn about sustainable growing, herbalism, and a variety of other skills that come across as outdated to many. They then move on to work on other projects that AMI runs, such as their farm located outside of a hospital where fresh food is put in to the hospital cafeteria and used like a prescription would be through their Food “Farmacy” program for people with type two diabetes and similar diet related conditions. Before working on the hospital farm, we stayed in the mountain lodge at their mountain farm and helped prepare for the spring season. Highland County, Virginia was the most rural place I had ever been. I lost cell service past Harrisonburg and panicked until I realized how dramatic I was being. The town closest to the lodge had three streets, was fifty minutes from a grocery store, ninety minutes from a hospital, and was excited about the dollar general that had just opened because it meant more accessibility to food and other necessities. We reached the farm after a stressful drive up mountain roads that many of us didn’t stomach well. The stars here were the clearest I have ever seen, and I stood in awe, in snowy weather, for thirty minutes, unable to glance away. Food was a huge part of our time there. We had complete breakfast, lunch, and dinners each day- not the norm compared to my typical college diet. Everything besides a few staple items like rice and beans came from the farm or had been preserved in to salsas or pickles or sauerkrauts from the last year. We gathered potatoes and beets from the root cellar, and eggs from their fifteen chickens, and ate no meat or processed food. The only plastic I could find in the lodge was a pack of toilet paper and was told that AMI has a separate line in their budget for mason jars, because glass is completely decomposable, so everything is stored in them. Never have I felt my carbon footprint grow smaller than it was this week. Every day, the thought of coming back to campus and seeing the amount of unnecessary waste my roommates and I, and the campus have been creating felt like a big, growing, gray cloud hovering over me. I realized that a lifestyle exactly like this one would not be possible at this point in my college life, but paired with the lessons from this class, I gained greater awareness of the value of local food and the footprint I create in my daily life being five minutes from a grocery store full of plastic and food shipped from across the country. Coming back to class and visiting the farm on campus the day after returning from my UDaB trip fueled a frustration in me and added even further meaning to my past week. In Food Fight, Strella, of the farm in Baltimore City, says, “teaching people to think as intimately as they can about the relationship between their bodies, their food, and their soil- the prospect of giant agribusiness seems entirely counterintuitive.” The lack of access to the food grown a mile away from the dining halls at the University seems counterintuitive when thinking from this viewpoint, especially when comparing it to a week where the food I ate and the place I lived was entirely interconnected. The idea of large businesses, including the University, prioritizing convenience and profit over quality and physical and environmental health of students and the area around us is utterly clear in this example. In class, a comment was made about using this class to turn students against the harmful policies of the university, and it’s working. I had never questioned why I have never seen any information about the organic food grown here and available for sale, or why students weren’t eating it, even though I was aware that this food is being grown. Now that I see the issues at hand, the big dragon that is the University seems even bigger. I want to see and create change here but can’t help but feel intimidated by what would be necessary to do so. However, an informed group of students that grows in to a bigger and bigger group of informed students seems like the best option.

Grabbing and Stuffing, by Abby Heubler

Looking back on my first few journals, I read my descriptions of brown shriveled leaves and frost that coated the grass around my mandala. I pictured myself hiking down creek road in a hat and gloves to brace the air that hadn’t yet received a breath of spring. Today, the air was warm and welcomed me as I felt the sun on my skin, wearing a t-shirt and shorts. The trees were full and bright as the sun shined through their leaves and the water had warmed since I had felt it last.

I was greeted by a goose floating at the top of the waterfall. Over and over, it would let itself drift to the edge of the water, just before the line where the ground dropped off, and then paddle against the current up the river again. While being entertained by the goose’s comedic behavior, I noticed the Great Blue Heron that stood at the bottom of the water fall on the far side from where I stood. I have seen this heron here before, but each time, it has flown away after a few minutes. This time, it stood with a careful focus on the water, eager to catch its lunch. After watching it for about ten minutes, he stabbed at the water with his beak but came up short. He shook out his feathers and moved a couple feet closer to the center of the waterfall where the water was moving quicker. Some fisherman waded their way in to the water beyond the waterfall and cast their lines, unable to break the heron’s focus on the water rushing below it. After a few more minutes, I watched the heron take a quick jab in to the water again, this time with its beak and then with its entire stomach. After a few seconds of what seemed like a violent underwater interaction, the heron lifted itself out of the water with a fish that looked to be about six inches long in its mouth. It swallowed the fish and I watched the heron’s throat expand as the it descended to its stomach. After a congratulatory cheer from me and a middle finger from the fisher who had lost his hook and hadn’t been able to make a catch yet, the heron receded back to its original spot on the edge of the waterfall and stayed perched.

Lao Tzu in Tao Te Ching says, “Grabbing and stuffing, there is no end to it. Sharpen a blade too much and its edge will soon be lost. Fill a house with gold and jade and no one can protect it. Puff yourself with honor and pride and no one can save you from a fall. Complete the task at hand. Be selfless in your actions. This is the way of heaven. This is the way to heaven.” The heron caught its meal at the waterfall today, I made mine in my kitchen, and the fisherman were attempting to find one in White Clay as well. The difference between the heron and humans, however, is that the heron doesn’t take more lunch than it needs. As humans, we have been taught that it is better to have more. It is a sign of power, importance, and wealth. In a society controlled by private ownership and profit, the goal is to have more than the next person, even if more is not required to live a better life. The heron, while wanting to outcompete any other heron for this fish it caught today, still only took just as much as he needed. It has no need to carry extra weight or spend extra time fighting for resources that are beyond its basic needs. It completes the task at hand and moves on. I think that filling the gap between humanity’s grabbing and stuffing and nature’s simple living may decrease the negative impacts that humans have on the earth. “Sharpen a blade too much and its edge will soon be lost,” can be equated to humans on earth in general. Use resources to their extent, and in ways that are unnecessary and exploitative, and there will no resources left in the end.

Holocene Poems, by Meaghan Hurr

From:Holocene

                                   Meaghan Hurr         

 

Monarch

A great migration,

vibrant orange wings flapping,

like tiny turbines.

Losing energy with time,

searching for food they won’t find.

 

 

President Trump proposed significant budget cuts to the government agencies responsible for overseeing the nation’s energy and environmental policies, including a 31 percent reduction in spending at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The New World

Land of the greed,

Home of the endangered.

Regulate our wallets,

leave the water unchecked,

guzzle fresh fertilizer and digest pest poison.

 

Floods and fire swallowing us,

meaningless because it still snows.

Starve the pests and their predators,

by tearing and mowing and spraying,

a perfect trim to keep the life away.

 

Grow crops and grow cows to feed the world,

throw it away before it can.

Destroy the soil to feed the world,

and move on when it is ruined.

Drive or fly whenever you please,

the land of the free implores you to.

A supreme quality of life on the surface,

gives way to a crumbling world.

 

 

Coal

I am laid bare,

previously laden with life.

Men would delve in my depths,

extracting their prize with great risk.

They won’t endanger themselves any longer,

deciding to destroy me instead.

Lumbering metal monsters sent with explosives,

to blow away my livelihood.

My peak taken from me,

my greenery blown to dust.

Homes stolen from wildlife,

and from the men themselves.

Trapped in their poverty,

as the machines steal occupations.

Avalanche of dust to descend on those below,

breathe it deeply and suffocate,

Lungs rot to black,

just as my precipice does.

 

 

The Bush administration’s repeal a Clinton-era policy that banned road construction in nearly 60 million acres of wilderness will likely increase the ‘human footprint’ on pristine wildlands in the United States.

Barren

A legislative minefield,

carefully planted by those with no care,

for the lush land that was stolen.

Purposing to advance dollars,

proposing to dismiss life.

 

The sage grouse knows no danger,

as one side pleads: to give the bird a chance,

and the other scoffs at protection of that which isn’t human.

 

Calls for the repeal of the Roadless Rule,

which stood as guardian to wilderness,

so the most intelligent of animals,

can exploit, extract, and destroy.

 

They undermine clean water,

to be more favorable to commercial interests.

There can be no interests,

in a world devoid of life.

 

 

 

 

 

Geese, by Daniel Chajes

I realized too late that I had forgotten my boots today, but it’s fine since the temperature is near freezing so all the moisture in the ground is frozen, making the ground stiff. Despite my hands being gloved, they are still super cold. I quickly force them in my pockets after zipping my jacket as far up as possible. I read the sign that’s near the biggest pool. It briefly described the goals of this wetland. While I read it I’m reminded of Doug Tallamy’s book. The sign says one of the goals is native plant diversity, which, as Tallamy explains will support more native animals, creating a much healthier ecosystem. As I was walking around the wetland last week, I got a feel about how big this area really was. Tallamy teaches us that it doesn’t take a huge area of native plants to support biodiversity, so I can’t even imagine what this transformation of this area into a marsh did for the area.

I didn’t know whether to expect the geese today. It was likely that the water could have been frozen. But, as it turned out, all three of them were in the water today. I couldn’t imagine getting into water that cold, but then again, I don’t have water resistant feathers covering my body. I try to move as close to the edge of the pond as possible without disturbing this family. As I observe them, I can tell that they’re doing the same to me, all of they’re eyes fixated on me and they’re long black necks being extended upwards as far as possible. Eventually they get tired of me, honking once before swimming off. I decide to leave early as well. The cold is starting to hurt my face, and for some reason, there were way more cars than usual and it’s kind of ruining things for me.

Once I get back home, I started to do some extra research on the geese. I was wondering why they were here when it was so cold and not lower south, but after looking it up, it appears that this is south for them. It also seems that they have recovered from the destruction of their habitat and overhunting.

In fact this species has recovered so well that they are now seen as more of a pest than anything. Initially I thought this was just a viewpoint, but, despite being a native species, these animals do have some environmental drawbacks. These birds seem to be extraordinarily suited for living in human made conditions. This means that they are able to roost and raise young near parking lots and golf courses, which are known for their high amount of runoff. This leads to large amounts of goose poop being included in this runoff. They’re even suspected of being a cause of increased fecal coliforms at beaches. It seems the U.S. has many methods to try and control their population like a longer hunting season, but I’m uncertain of how well these work. I remember saying last week how I liked these birds, but after reading all of this I think I’ve changed my opinion.

 

Changes, by Marissa Kissinger

This was a weird week for me in the woods; everything was changing.The air, the sounds, the colors, the trees, and, especially, my tree.After taking a week off from my tree I went back to my spot.It was a beautiful day, I did not have a jacket, and I realized I kind of missed my spot.When I got there, I felt like Haskell in October when he witnessed the leaves gradually changing.However, because I took a week off from my spot, I felt like I missed the gradual change and it went from the tundra of winter to a taste of spring in a minute.As the sunshine broke through the gaps above and elucidated my tree, I began to look at the changes.The deep and sunken wrinkles I had become so accustomed to were now breathing with life.My tree looked like it was trying to take its first breath again.My tree almost appeared wider as if it was about to explode in a gasp with a hundred leaves.I almost expect to come back next week to find a tree full of leaves and a ground teeming with flowers.However, there were no leaves yet but when I looked down, I think I saw Japanese stiltgrass.When I went home, I confirmed my finding of stiltgrass and also learned that animals avoid this weed and prefer to eat natural grasses.This made me think back to Tallamy’s sentiment about how favoring native plants is more beneficial for biodiversity.I could not help but see this sentiment in real life because when I looked at the weed I found, I knew it would eventually grow and grow until it choked out natural, native grasses.This meant that this grass could potentially stop the growth of the flowers I am so desperate to see.I wanted to rip the grass right out of the ground and keep my spot free from harm.I looked away from the infiltrator and listened to the air and sounds around me. My tree was not the only thing waking up.I could hear and feel the buzz of new life around me as if every insect and critter knew it was time to begin their families anew.I closed my eyes and imagined vibrant lady bugs and incredible butterflies and dragonflies flying through my spot.I am not sure if my spot will have these beautiful creatures, but I only hope that with my spot’s burst of life comes in all forms.I looked around my spot and tried to imagine what would fill some of the spaces.Would it be more natural grass, or could it be some other type of weed?I truly hope that it is natural and native species and not like Haskell’s backyard full of tangles of oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle, and autumn olive.As of right now my spot looks sterile even though its sounds are roaring with life.I can not wait to welcome new life to my spot and watch my tree grow.I turned my attention to my little stream and noticed new moss covering some stones.It seems I did find some new life after all.My stream was bubbling along happily without a care in the world.I had this sudden urge to go splash in it.Listening to the stream made me feel like a little girl again enjoying my spring or summer day.I was not brave enough to stick my toes in yet, but I think next week I will come in flip flops and experience the rush through my toes.

A Semblance of Clarity, by Nivi Arunkumar

The hike into White Clay is pleasant this time. It is not too chilly, and the breeze carries the smell of fresh rain. The large creek has become swollen from last night’s rain and now it rages on, muddy brown from carrying the dirt and silt from run offs. I spend extra time on the root bridge, because it is still slick with moisture. When I crouch down, a decomposing bundle of sticks and fibers is right next to my head. I’ve noticed it before, but only because I didn’t want fall into precariously hanging nest. Today, I stand still, examining it carefully. It is a black mass, that is hanging by some odd grainy fiber. There is a small opening for a bird that is being stretched from gravity and disuse.  Carefully chose twigs are stacked at the bottom of the pouch-shaped nest. I get the sense that it could fall any moment. Even though my initial reaction at looking at the nest is disgust for the gray, webby concoction holding everything together, I still find appreciation in this little feat of architecture. I have no real idea what kind of bird could make this nest – my best guess is the Baltimore Oriole. Arriving at my little island, I look around for signs of change. The moss is a beautiful shade of green again, and it encompasses my tree from the base. I only notice tendrils of Japanese Honeysuckle and Oriental Bittersweet on every tree, that I had glazed over before. I notice the Multiflora Rose grow thicker and more impenetrable. I crouch at the edge the land, and watch the stream flow quickly underneath me. I find the rush soothing, and I can see the swoops of water where the stream flows over a tiny ridge. The tiny journal I bring with me is still opened to an empty page, and I can’t think of the metaphors and tiny observations I want to focus on. Instead, I just think about the past week, and how it has been more difficult than usual.

I started sleeping later and skipping meals. Working out regularly has become completely out of question. After all the growth I’ve done as a person, it’s discouraging that I’m regressing to an unhealthier version of me. There’s a lot of reasons to this weird state of exhaustion. But I think I’m starting to become disillusioned. I’ve been drafted into a system that doesn’t care for the planet it has been lived in. Now, it seems like everything I do also inadvertently harms the environment. I drive to school in my car and release carbon dioxide into the air. The jeans I wear probably needed thousands of gallons of water in the process of production. The cereal I eat from breakfast was from genetically modified plants treated with carcinogenic pesticides. The house I live in is in the middle of suburbia, in a fairly new neighborhood that used to be a lot of trees a decade ago. That same house was bought because my dad works at DuPont. Jenkins says that DuPont now has control of the world’s biggest proprietary seed bank, as well as a global seed sales force” (pg. 54). So my dad has helps with the transportation and storage of GM soybeans and pesticides, and the money he earns from that helps to pay for my college tuition.

I’ve had my heart set on medicine forever, and I have only good intentions for how I want to spend my career – by helping people. Moreso, I never wanted to be harm the ecosystem around me. But even good intentions have unforeseen consequences. Being more aware that everything I do could is adding to an urgent problem puts me in a state of mental paralysis. Haskell thinks we can find our way back to thoughtful management for the long-term well-being of both humans and forests. But finding this way will require some quiet and humility. Oases of contemplation can call us out disorder, restoring a semblance of clarity to our moral vision (pg. 67). Maybe he’s right. I feel better acknowledging the creeping cynicism of my usually optimistic view of life. I give my peninsula a glance of new thought, like a doctor to a patient – thinking of a cure. The stream underneath my feet is clear and so are my thoughts.

Yearning for Spring, by Natalie Gross

I yearn for spring from deep within my bones. I try my best to appreciate winter, since in upstate New York–where I’m from–it lasts for nearly half of the year. But it doesn’t matter that I’ve spent my entire life in a region where subzero wind chills are the norm, and the roads are coated in so many layers of salt that they are white by March. I am a person made to thrive in warm weather. Every April I feel myself sprout and bloom to eagerly greet the returning sun, and I battle a restless urge to be outside.

Since my last walk in White Clay, the perennials lying dormant in the cold soil had heeded the silent signals of spring’s approach. I nearly missed the shy sprouts poking out of brittle leaf litter. The birds had done their job–by way of their droppings, thousands of seeds had been dispersed from across the region throughout the winter. As Tallamy remarks in Bringing Nature Home, the seeds like those that germinate each spring in White Clay are extraordinary travelers, likely to hail from hundreds of miles away.

I pushed further into the park in order to escape the road noise, staying parallel to the creek. The water level had risen, and the stream was now a disturbingly turbid coffee color, most likely due to last night’s rainfall and its consequent runoff. I searched for raccoon prints along the bank, crouching close to the sand as the water lapped gently at my hiking boots. All I saw were human footprints.

I made sure to be especially vigilant in the search for invasive species this time. I had always known them to be a massive environmental issue, but I suppose I’ve never been skilled enough at identifying plants–or just never paid enough attention–to notice their prevalence all around me.

Now that I knew what to look for, I saw it everywhere. In some areas, nearly every tree had been strangled, suffocated by Oriental bittersweet. I was sickened by one young tree in particular that had been girdled so tightly by the vine that it appeared almost bloated in the areas left untouched. The hardy invader was curling around everything, tightly wound like the stripes of a candy cane. My friend and I began pointing out singular trees that had escaped its squeezing wrath, cheering them on for surviving unscathed and standing healthy.

So many of the trees being choked by the invincible invasive species were old giants, with thick and immovable trunks, and pale fungi or lush moss scaling their tough bark exteriors. Despite the changes those trees had witnessed over the years, despite unpredictable weather and storms of great strength, the wise giants would fall to another member of the plant kingdom, and one a fraction of their size, at that.

Native plants and trees everywhere are caught between a rock and a hard place–they are threatened by habitat fragmentation and deforestation, and even if they are spared, they risk being strangled to death by foreign species that steal the same sun, water, and soil that have sustained the natives for centuries. Couple these factors with uncontrollable seed dispersal and the lack of connection between people and the natural world, and it is easy to see why our forests seem past the point of salvage.

 

Alone, but not Lonely, by Jeffrey Spencer

I might be alone in these woods, but I don’t feel lonely. I don’t feel threatened by anything that surrounds me. It feels natural for me to be here among the trees, above the water, by myself.

The same can’t be said when I’m alone in my dorm room or even at home. When I am alone there I feel truly alone. I am always overwhelmed by upcoming assignments or figuring out how to get a good career, everything is terrifying. It feels unnatural to sit at my desk, surrounded by papers, under the fluorescent lights, by myself.

This may be why I don’t feel lonely while in the woods, maybe it is because I can sympathize with the trees. At their home they feel threatened. They have to feel more alone than ever because they are being over taken by invasive species. Trees are being covered up and breaking in the wind due to Oriental bittersweet and almost no one is stopping it. Mile–a- minute is absorbing and smothering the shrubs and small trees we just say ignore it. Our domestic plants our alone. It is unnatural to sit here while the trees across the creek are being strangle, suffocated, and forgotten about.

I connect with these trees the more I think about it.

Elementary school for me was like the forest before humans unleashed new species into it. I was prospering. I had my group of friends and would do everything together. We would play our version of football in the fields, ride around the neighbor, and just not care about the world and its problems. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. It was a perfect world, and I, like the oak, didn’t have a care in the world. That’s why middle school was a very dramatic shift. It was my first experience with people I had never met and who had experience and stories that I didn’t share.

Middle school was like the very introduction of invasive species into a forest. I became no one, I became lonely. I did still have my friends, but I began to realize that they didn’t care what happened to me, they just used me to climb higher. They were like the bittersweet vines climbing up a tree trunk to get to the canopy and steal all the sun. They tried to push me out of my comfort zone and cripple me while I was just trying to survive. The kids who I had never met before acted the same. No one cared how they affected each other, everybody was just trying to climb to the top of the canopy. Of course, I had to leave and get to a better environment, and so I went to a high school with people I didn’t know. This had the same affect as moving a tree across the country, but with the bittersweet still living on it. I was completely forgotten.

But college is my turning. It is like an environmentalist ripping the bittersweet off a tree to get a glimpse of the trunk of the oak tree. I was being freed. I have people who I can be with and not feel alone. Of course, there are times, where I am sitting in my dorm and the feeling of suffocation come back, but when I am with my roommates my worries go away. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through this first year if I didn’t have them by my side.

Thank you, Jason and Blake.

Thank you for caring about the tree underneath the mile-a-minute. You make the unnatural dorm room feel natural.

So while I sit in these wood, I know that I may be lonely sometimes, but only sometimes.

A Sound’s Story, by Erin Leathrum

My eyes are squeezed so tight, I’m seeing stars. My thoughts are racing. Everything is piling up, responsibilities and worries threatening to consume me. I just need to focus, focus. Breathe.  

Just… breathe.

My eyebrows are knitted. Inhale. My shoulders are up to my ears. Exhale. My arms are tight. Inhale. One by one I pay attention to each of these. Release the tension. Calm down.

There are better things to focus on. The pulsing life surrounding me. The whistling of wind. The rushing flow of running water. The rustling of a wandering creature. And, distantly, the roar of a car’s engine. Everything is exposed, amplified.

I no longer hear the crush of my thoughts.

I’m able to leave myself behind, a much-needed relief to stress, through meditation. 

 Meditation is a practice spanning numerous religions and cultures over the centuries.  It requires a quiet place, and there is no better place to meditate than White Clay.  A perfect escape, secluded yet open to all. 

The idea never would’ve come to me if not for class this week. Overwhelmed with the weight of decisions, the conflict of finding my place and what matters most to me, I was drowning in my thoughts. The only solution was to retreat to White Clay, to trek into the woods and meditate in solitude.

Before Friday, I’d never meditated before. I never knew that through this practice I’d be able to really focus on myself and what was truly bothering me. Free from the worry that bogged me in the world beyond White Clay, my mind was opened, and I discovered plausible solutions to problems that previously stumped me.

All it took was the sounds of nature.

Sound has always been something I paid close attention to. As a musician, every little noise births new meaning in my life. It’s impossible for me to listen to a song without dissecting every aspect of it.  The tumultuous rise and fall of the melody, the reverberating bass, the chord progressions.  Each piece builds upon the next, creating a beautiful masterpiece eliciting a unique response in every individual.  Every sound brings its own meaning.

In White Clay, each sound has its own story. The soaring wind can set off a chain reaction. How many leaves are falling from the trees? What seeds are being spread and planted, for a new life to abound? How do the birds fly against the pressure? The roaring stream flows in a ceaseless cycle, filled with life and providing life. Where had it been? Where will it end up? What will come and go along the way? The rustling of bushes belongs to an animal fighting to survive. How many more critters are around me, moving in their own world like me? What are they doing? How do they fit into the grand scheme of things?

All combined, each sound inspires a bigger picture.  A picture I wouldn’t have been able to see without meditating.  Everything has a story.  Everything has a meaning, and it’s on me to take the time to focus on the whole rather than dreading individual problems.

Boredom, by Hannah Specht

As I sit and soak in every last bit of the sun today, all I can think is how annoying those around me are being. Other people are constantly crowding my serene time of being in tune with nature. But as Haskell said, to love nature and hate humanity is illogical. This is a quote that stuck out with me from the reading, and I am understanding it to the fullest now. All around me babies cry, a couple fights and a runner sings. I can barely hear the trees swaying in the wind or the squirrel’s chattering amongst themselves. I am finding myself to lack compassion for those around me, making them objects instead of people. That’s why Haksell tells us that we shouldn’t have to cleanse humanity from nature to make it beautiful, but to feel compassion for humans as well.

The ground is very wet. Mud seems to be consuming everyone person’s shoes, including my own. The longer I sit here the more I can’t wait for spring. To be over this mundane weather and see beautiful flowers and more animals roaming the woods. The birds start to sing beautiful songs, and I listen with eager ears.

There is a beautiful tree right next to my spot that I plant myself within the weeds. This tree is very thick, probably hundreds of years old and has a beautiful coating of moss that engulfs the lower half of the tree. The moss looks and feels slimy at the touch of the hand. The moss is a beautiful green that is missing from the trees leaves in late winter. It consumes the tree in a way that makes it look like it’s supposed to be there.

On the other side of me there is a skinnier tree, one that looks like It is grasping to stay alive. No moss lives on this tree, but tons of plants at the bottom, swaying in the same way the tree does when the strong gusts of wind will come. The plant and tree combo are pirouetting with each other, moving smoothly in each direction like they’re dancing the tango.

When the runners pass they disturb the mud and throw it in all different directions, sometimes it lands on themselves, the trees next to them, and even me. The poor mud is constantly beaten up and thrown all over the place.

I don’t know how to word this lightly, but I am bored. I remember Haskell saying in “The Forest Unknown,” that after too much time in one ambiance for a while people grow bored and want change. Therefore, I change my scenery, closer to the water.

As the stream trickles down, I close my eyes. Listening for a fish taking a big gulp of air, or a splash of sticks falling into the stream. Mostly all I can hear is the bird’s songs with a background beat of the streaming water. It’s calming, something I could be put right to sleep by.

Like I ended my time last week I open my eyes and scan the stream. Looking for any foreign objects holding up my water. Yes, my water. I am taking ownership of this stream every time I come. Not surprisingly found a peanut bag laying on a rock that punctures the water. I pick it up and take it with me, until next week.