Reruns and the Long Way Home

I always take the long way home

Some lessons you learn again and again. It ain’t pretty, but it’s a fact of life, we pattern. Some lessons I’m glad to relearn, but good grief, let it stick this time.

Photography and hiking-wise I often think I need someplace new to go. Which is fine, I love discovery and I love travel, but then I think of this quote from a book I loved:

“…it’s a paltry sense of wonder that requires something new everyday…Wonder is easy when you travel…it’s easy and maybe it’s cheap. It is not what the world asks of us.” -Kathleen Dean Moore, Wild Comfort

The key is to get outdoors, whether somewhere new or not. It’s that simple. That’s the lesson I relearn again and again. It is always worth it to go outside. Even in small doses. Even when I step outside at work for the few minutes I can steal away. Worth it. Golden. Every time.

This is a common internal conversation for me, I want to hike and photograph something. How about Bull Creek? No. I go there all the time. I’ve taken every photo there possible. But I always have a good time there. But I need somewhere new! I need someplace new to discover. I do this everytime. Go to Bull Creek and see what is new, what is the new song there, the new light, the new peoples. NO, I need something new!

On a bad day, I give in, and do something else. On a good day, I go to Bull Creek anyway, trusting that I’ll have a great time, like everytime. Usually, that self-discussion happens the night before, so early in the morning, I head to Bull Creek, but spend about an hour in my backyard, and then in my front yard chasing photographs. Then I finally get in the car and head to Bull Creek. Boom! Same thing as the yard, I’m taking photographs everywhere. Even the drive over, I’m keeping myself from pulling over, so I can finally get to the creek.

No matter how many times I go to the same trails, or even to my same yard, when I go, and I’m present in the moment, that is all it takes. I enjoy myself. The world is catching my eye, and asking to be photographed, noticed, considered, appreciated, thanked for it’s life. Each time of day, time of year, incidents of the day, so much changes everywhere. There is newness in each moment. Again and again this happens to me. There is so much life and activity everywhere. Each time I go to Bull Creek, there is gold. The light is different, the water levels. I may not walk away with excellent photographs, but the experience is always awesome. Yet, I have to convince my self that the same will hold true if I just go, and stop worrying about the new.

Even a walk in the neighborhood, or down the streets can be awesome, afterall as Bedichek recognized, it is in the ditches and easements where local life thrives against the assault of monoculture. I’ve tested this, and there are many ditches, and back alley roads where I find all kinds of flowers, birds and wildlife.

The snail picture above is from last weekend. I spent hours in my backyard chasing snails. I learned alot. I took many photos. I learned the Bombadil Bungalow has a moat of snails around it. They guard my house, I guess.

I may take the long way to get there, but when I get back to these places, like Bull Creek or the many trails and Preserves around Austin, it is as familiar as home, and home can be as full of wonder as a new land, when you are present, and open and there.

Let’s get outside today!

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