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Ranger Notes from 2020

The Soundtracks of Our Lives

December 2020

Hiking along the Island Trail with a family of three, we focus on using our sense of sight, touch, smell, and hearing to look for wildlife. When we reach the south side of the trail, the breeze from the lake ceases and the forest darkens as the sun begins to set. We stop and listen.

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The Will to Survive

November 2020

Closeup of rough tree bark with many little holesAs I drive through the park I am drawn to the strangeness of our trees. If one were to look closely at our trees, lessons in strength, resilience, and the ability to change are taught.

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The Instinct to Migrate

October 2020

Bat box on a tall poleThe cooler weather brings back memories from when I was a child. I used to "build camp" and pretend to migrate around the backyard as the weather changed. As an adult, I watch migrating animals with a hint of envy and imagine life with no boundaries or passports.

Migratory animals, such as Mexican free-tailed bats, will leave their summer roosts with the arrival of cold weather and head south. 

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Mayfly Madness

September 2020

MayflyThe natural world is full of seasonal changes. At Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, every day and every season offers new experiences. Many campers and locals are familiar with one of those: mayfly season.

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A Truthful Talk About Snakes

July 2020

Snake in grass beside brick houseIt’s warm outside, squirrels are racing, and cicadas are buzzing: all signs that we’re entering the doldrums of summer and snake encounters.

I’ve been thinking about snakes and our relationships to them more than what’s normal for this park ranger.

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Never Truly Isolated

June 2020

small wasp on flowerDuring this time of isolation and disconnect, I am reminded of our primal connection to something greater, our life-giving earth. Everything in the natural world means something to another living being.

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Forgetting the Past

January 2020

Concrete tubeYears ago, I came across a couple vertical concrete culverts in the thicket of the woods at the park. There was a long metal pipe inside them, but they were not connected to any known water lines. Why were they there, what were they? I asked fellow employees, but they had no idea. They were a mystery.

Read more Forgetting the Past . . .