I made the decision to celebrate this year’s chilly Earth Day by going on a solo nature walk through the forest preserve where my husband and I got married, Hononegah Forest Preserve. It was a pretty chilly day, temperatures were below freezing for a small part of the day so we even got a little bit of snow. But heading out for some fresh air still seemed like the thing today. Since it was Earth Day, I decided more time enjoying the environment with my own eyes and less worrying about getting great shots (but don’t worry, I didn’t come away with nothing).
Shortly into my walk, I saw this isolated white tree. It was shockingly white compared to every other tree around it. At this point in my walk, the sun hadn’t come out yet so it was still a little overcast. Between the slightly overcast sky, the unseasonable coldness of the day, and the added layer of darkness from tree cover, this was a bit of a creepy sight. The whole scene was eerily beautiful.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the forest preserve. The last time I was here, this tree wasn’t in the middle of the path. Or rather, the path didn’t curve around the tree. It just goes to show how much simple human activity can lead to changes. In this case, continued use caused the path to curve around the tree on both sides, instead of staying to the left.
There were lots of interesting things to look at during my walk. It pays to pay attention to details. Spending time looking at things up close is just as important as appreciating the entire scene. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on a lot.
I love finding bird nests along my outdoor adventures. This one caught my attention for a few reasons. Unlike most of the nests I encounter, this one wasn’t high up in the trees. It was about waist high in a bush-like plant. It also wasn’t made of all natural materials. White, shredded garbage was included on the lower portion of the outside of the nest. Although it’s interesting to see how some birds are able to take our garbage and incorporate it into their way of life, it’s disappointing that it’s necessary for them to do so.
While throwing things away or, better yet, recycling them isn’t all that difficult, I found a lot of examples of garbage along my walk. This example was more inventive than heartbreaking. However after I’d put my camera away, I stumbled across animal scat that contained an obscene amount of garbage. In fact, the scat was primarily garbage. Animals can and will eat what humans can’t be bothered to properly dispose of, please keep that in mind.
On a happier note: there were so many lovely things to look at. Once I’d stepped out of the wooded area and the path took me to more open space, there was a huge difference in the types of plant life I saw.
The winter was long and cold, and having snow in April is a bit unusual. But that hasn’t deterred the trees and flowers from beginning to bud. All around there were examples of the area coming alive, finally recognizing that spring is here.
I had an equally invigorating walk back walk and noticed some spectacular new sights from a different vantage point. Make sure to take your time and look all around you and you’ll always find something new to appreciate.
Probably because of the cooler temperatures, I didn’t see a lot of animal life running around. Not even the squirrels were hanging out! Although the birds kept their distance, I did appreciate listening to them during my walk. Of course, it was also exceptionally windy, so sometimes I couldn’t hear anything other than the wind. I snapped a couple photos of this little guy shortly before I put my camera away and enjoyed the rest of my walk without distraction. He had a buddy, who watched me from a lower branch, saw me snap a photo, turned around, pooped, and looked back as if to say “take a picture of that.” :p
All of these photos will be put up on my website in a few weeks once I get time to finish editing. The eagle photos are well on their way to being finished as well, so be sure to be on the lookout for that! In May, there’ll be a bit of a change of pace with some warmer, more beachy photos 😉