When The Road Changes

Things change. It’s inevitable.

I visited the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center again this week. The purpose for this particular road trip involved a photographic expedition. I wanted a location where I could find interesting pictures of light, sunshine, shadow and nature. It was a partly cloudy day where the sun came and went behind the clouds which kept the light changing throughout the morning. I took many pictures of the varieties of light available to me that day.

I also took pictures of several of the critters I found while walking around the various trails. It seemed as though the animals were cooperating with me most of the time. Some of them even seemed to pose while I took a number of photos.

A long time ago I developed a year‐long habit, or meditative practice if you will, of walking in the Houston Arboretum routinely once a week. I started this in the month of January and kept it up all the way through December. I had great fun watching nature go from one season to another. I watched wild flowers bloom in the spring and I watched great numbers of monarch butterflies as they migrated. I got to know the animals around the pond. A couple of turtles and I were on first name basis. One time I saw a poisonous snake swimming across the pond.…..thankfully away from me.

By the time the year was up, I knew the Houston Arboretum forwards and backwards. You could drop me down onto any trail and I could find my way out. Several times I would help guide folks who were walking around looking very lost.

But not anymore. The Arboretum is getting updated, upgraded, made fancier? Whatever you want to call it, my beloved Arboretum is changing. There are now two entrances. A new office building is going up and a new education center. Trails are changing…I think. There are more ponds. There are a couple of spots where I was used to seeing a particular tree leading to that particular trail that I can no longer find. I actually had to use a map to find my way around during this last visit. I found the largest pond that I was looking for, but I could almost swear that a smaller pond disappeared in that one spot that I was used to visiting.

Unless you are a member, there is now a small charge for parking. Of course if I wait just a couple of weeks then I will qualify for a “Senior” membership. I will get free parking and a discount in the gift shop. Who says life doesn’t keep getting more exciting as you get older?

There was one thing that I was very glad to see had not changed. There are still turtles in the large pond. There were at least 10 of them sunning themselves on various logs in the middle of the water. None of them waved at me or asked me where I had been, but I was delighted to see them anyway.

I’ll use a map until I learn the new layout and pay attention to detail so I don’t get lost. The trails are being improved and there are more benches so a writer can sit down and create in the middle of nature. I may not visit weekly like I used to, but I can see myself showing up there maybe monthly.

And I like to hug the trees. Yes, I am a tree hugger. Yes, they hug back. It’s all very nice.

Until next week,.„„

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