"August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away."
- Elizabeth Maua Taylor
Have you noticed the shift? Maybe not consciously, maybe it's a longing, a nostalgic impression, that lingers just out of reach - humming from the recesses in back of the mind. The sun has shifted in such a way that the afternoon light is darker, a harvest yellow, on the breeze an occasional sharp chill slides up the spine only to disappear moments later from the warmth of the summer sun. Autumn is not here yet, I'm not wishing the time away, but there is a gear shift into late summer happening. This is one of my favorite times of year. Undefinable by any specific occurrence or event, just a hint of a taste.
Maybe you've noticed I haven't posted for a while, or maybe you haven't. It has been a big month in our world. Weddings (one as photographers, one as guests), family vacation, opening a new trail at Wooster Memorial Park, volunteering here and there, and maintaining the garden at the farm. A good July, just quite big.
Vacation brought up a number of thoughts, concerns, and questions pertaining to parks, the public, management, and stewardship. I haven't settled on a personal stance but I'd love to hear other's opinions about the situation...
Our vacation was to Hocking Hills (yep, you already know where I'm going with this) - amazing hills, caves, formations, waterfalls, plant life - it's a natural paradise right here in Ohio, if you've ever been you know the grandiose of the area. The conundrum is adding the public to the land. For years the sentiment is that Hocking Hills is being loved to death, I almost question if it's loved or just a great background for instagram posts. How many guests to the area sit still to breathe in the scene without use of a phone or camera, how many take the time to notice the delicate orchids along the path, or to watch the millipedes make their journey up the rock face. How many contemplate the lifecycle of the Earth, how the glaciers changed the face of our state, then how the Native Americans made use of these shelters and waterways. Is it loved or is visiting there kicking a corpse (dark but it does upset me)?
Common thoughts on the situation -
Is it because it's free - if admission were charged would people disrespect the space?
If no one knew of the area would anyone care to preserve that which they don't know?
Is it an important space to inspire people to gain an appreciation for nature, potentially moving them to become stewards of nature protecting lands in their own area?
Is it the responsibility of those who love the area to educate and inspire others to be good to the land?
As I prefer being proactive to being a defeatist I'll go with the last two. It is important to go to these areas BUT education and stewardship must be accentuated. Educating people on what they're seeing and how they can make a positive impact on such areas is (at least in my naive mind) more viable than closing off areas to everyone all together (although admission would be a good way to make this happen, and then you get the people who actually care).
Always lots to think about in this great world of ours.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.