Finding Nature Where You Can

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”~John Muir

We live in a suburb, more than a suburb, a “Planned Community,” so most of the nature within walking distance is fairly well-controlled and manicured. Brazos Bend State Park (with gators!) is a relatively quick drive…but that doesn’t help me and Daisy when we need to clear our heads.

The dog park is only a short drive away. It has nature...grass, mud, dogs. Perfection!

The dog park is only a short drive away. It has nature…grass, mud, dogs. Perfection!

Luckily behind our neighborhood is a place optimistically called the “bayou.” That’s planned community speak for “large drainage ditch.” Why is this a good thing? Because the same lovely sidewalk that goes past our house and past the elementary school and playground also leads under the power lines and to a little bridge across the (ahem) bayou and then alongside it all the way under the large road and around the soccer fields and in and out of dozens of other neighborhood. And there’s a surprising amount of nature to be seen even in this trimmed and mowed and edged by fenced-in backyards concrete walking trail.

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One magical day after a rainy week, we saw hundreds of little dark dots moving on the sidewalk. The kids knelt down and discovered frogs…tinier than a fingernail. When one of them hopped, it transformed from a small dark circle into a minuscule silhouette of a frog with tiny outstretched frog legs. Amazing. On every walk we usually see turtles, lots of turtles. And always birds. As my friend Marie told me (and as proved by the Audubon Society) we’re on the Central Flyway. If I had a better camera and more knowledge, this would be a bird blog. Instead, here are a few of the water birds Daisy and I saw in the last few weeks…a heron? the kind of birds Texans call “cowbirds?” and some egrets? maybe? Squirrels. Last week, when I didn’t even have my phone on me, Daisy and I saw a live armadillo…my first.

When Daisy and I need a “mindful moment,” sometimes the best way to get one is to hit the pavement and head for our own little pocket of nature. Turns out, there’s always something to see.

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“If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

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