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厌倦了在我自己的街区或大学校园一次又一次地在我保护圣心的散步上盘旋,我邀请我的女儿和我一起去一个小镇对面的公园观鸟探险。高地就在伦纳德街,几乎就在我长大的街对面。据我记得,高地是一个高尔夫球场,但我只是从远处看到它 —— 据我所知,它只有一个专属客户才能进入。我朋友艾米的家人是成员,拉迪达。但我从来没有踏上它。

现在它是一个公共自然保护区。高尔夫球场业主最终屈服于不可避免的,并将土地卖给谁想要建造公寓的开发商。2017 年,西密歇根州土地保护协会与布兰德福德自然中心(位于高尔夫球场旁边的一家长期受欢迎的教育性非营利性组织)共同安排购买该酒店。就在去年,他们开始了一个修复项目,将把这 121 英亩的土地变成一个 “庇护所” 就在城市,有野生动物栖息地,自然小径,教育项目等。我想参观,因为我很好奇,看看 LCWM 和 BNC 的人可以用一个古老的高尔夫球场做什么。

米娅和我早上到达,配备了保暖的夹克,太阳镜和双筒望远镜。我们拉进了砾石停车场,并立即注意到俱乐部的房子曾经是现在是一个广阔的干污垢。我们开始走路,不太确定路径应该在哪里。在这一点上,他们只是微弱的概述。

事实上,最让我感到震惊的是在这个阶段看起来多么混乱。它看起来像一个废弃的高尔夫球场。你可以做出旧球道,现在杂草和干燥。你可以看到水的特征,现在泥泞和边缘与干草。从五月初开始,落叶树几乎没有向外伸出,其中一些看起来是关节炎。一些云杉已经完全死了,只是站在那里死了,就好像有人在路边竖起了一棵 30 英尺的圣诞树,然后把它留在那里直到春天。

然而。小鸟在唱歌。在踏上 “小径” 之前,我们发现了苍鹭和鹰头顶。Mallard 和加拿大鹅对平静地晒在池塘的边缘,一对附近有高绒毛球。树燕子,盘旋。我们听到了红腹啄木鸟和簇绒的马头茅斯。不久之前,我们发现了一对美丽的东方蓝鸟。当然有罗宾斯,红衣主教,蓝鸟,八星和乌鸦。

尽管如此,到目前为止,LCWM 对这个地方做了什么,除了推平会所并贴上了几个标志?后来,我去了他们的网站,了解到有更多的发生比像我这样的业余爱好者可以用肉眼发现。

高地作为一个高尔夫球场经营了一百多年。这意味着一百年喂养草坪草,大量浇水和施肥,将农药和其他有毒物质排入周围的分水岭。所以去年春天,LCWM 移除了草坪草。刚刚把它刮了起来。然后,志愿者帮助种植本地野花的疤痕。不过,我们将无法享受这些东西再过几年了。花将花他们的头两个季节放下根。LCWM 还与美国鱼类和野生动物管理局的合作伙伴合作,在土地已经浸没的地方挖掘湿地。所以这些动物正在享受的池塘不仅仅是水的特征。他们是新的志愿者还帮助建造和安装了一堆蓝鸟盒子。

最后,米娅和我发现了一条小的连接线路,进入了毗邻高地的布兰德福德自然中心的树林。布兰德福德的建筑和教育计划都被关闭,因为 COVID-19。但小径是开放的,包括适合学校团体青少年的小循环。在布兰德福德的树林里,我们发现了更多的鸟类,包括一个新的鸟类:一个有金色腹部的棕榈虫和小生锈的帽子。它被称为 “棕榈虫”,我猜,因为它的冬季挖掘在加勒比海和尤卡坦。我们也看到了一个隐士鹅口疮,虽然我们当时不知道。米娅得到了一张照片,斑点的家伙,我们后来认出来。我们终于看到了北方闪烁,我们一直听到,也,虽然我们不得不在他之后脚尖才能得到一个好看。它们是如此时尚的鸟类,它们的组合下方的斑点和上方的条纹,黄色和红色的口音,以及引人注目的黑色乳房新月。米娅还得到了很好的照片勇敢的小鹰谁似乎喜欢聚光灯下,冒充云杉树枝为她。阿尔多·利奥波德描述了他们的 “小捆绑的大型爱好者”。

在我们回车的路上,Mia 和我遇到了一个照片监控站,俯瞰着一个池塘,那里有三个大小的画家乌龟在一个日志上晒出自己。参观者被邀请将他们的相机设置在支架上并拍照,然后将其张贴到主题标签上。LCWM 希望最终创建一个生态系统恢复的照片蒙太奇延时。

恢复不是最精确的词,不是吗?这片土地将过渡到更荒野和更原生的地方,但它不会恢复到过去一些原始、理想的状态。没有这样的东西,因为生态系统总是动态的。这是确定的。重点是治愈,创造一个有弹性、可持续发展的地方,为城市中的其他人提供热情好客的生活,住宅区和相当繁忙的街道附近。这不是一块巨大的土地,但足够了。

同时,愈合需要很长时间,第一阶段看起来像一个烂摊子。草是细心的,树木老了,有些死了。无论如何,在平衡的栖息地,风扔和跌落是一个关键的组成部分,但在高尔夫球场上看到它们会让这个地方看起来被忽视和不受阻碍。正如 LCWM 网站指出的,“在恢复过程中,丑陋往往是进步的第一个迹象。”

即便如此,种子的确被种植,将其变成原生草原和大草原生态系统。这只是要花一段时间。有一个完整的总体规划,由一个专家团队制定,有大量的社区投入,但每个阶段都必须等待雨水、种子和生物来完成他们的工作。有没有冲它,如果你想做正确的话。在我们等待和观看的同时,我们也必须认识到,过渡时期有自己的优点。例如鸟鸣和日光海龟。一个杀手,胸部有广泛的黑色带,像一件水手条纹衬衫。

我不知道这一切对我们意味着什么,现在,在这个时候,这么多似乎丑陋,不受忽视。很多人似乎死了种子是种植的吗?我当然想知道是否有一个总体规划。我们正在变成什么?难道所有的丑陋是进步的第一个迹象吗?

那天早上,米娅和我去看望我父母的坟墓。这是他们死亡五周年。我说:“想到它们在那里,在地下,这是奇怪的,” 我们站在床脚下,他们现在躺在的地方,坟墓标记就像枕头一样。“好吧,他们不在那里,” 我个人的复活节天使 Mia 回答说。“他们的身体是,” 我指出。我们把花放在花瓶里,我们能找到的最亮的,假的花朵,以免鹿来吃它们。

这么多的等待,过渡,在间。我试图找到同时的优雅。

Debra Rienstra

I am a writer, professor, amateur musician, science fiction fan, and lifelong member of the Reformed Christian tribe. For my day job, I teach early British literature and creative writing at Calvin University, where I have been on the faculty for over twenty years and still need to pedal fast to keep (mostly) ahead of smart, feisty undergraduates. I have published three books, over two hundred essays for The Twelve, and numerous articles, poems, and reviews in popular and scholarly contexts. I have a B.A. from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers. My husband and I have three grown children.

16 Comments

  • Daniel J Meeter says:

    Thanks you so much. So wonderful. As soon as I saw the photo on the website, the Flicker, I knew this would be good. That clubhouse was where we had my sister-in-law’s wedding reception decades ago. I love it that this is happening there now. Golf courses, as someone told me once, may look green, but actually they are deserts.

  • Jan Zuidema says:

    The graces are visible in the people who have been forced outside for the first time, for many, in a very long time. Having time, born of boredom or desperation, to actually see and experience the wonders of birds, trees, sky. The rejuvenating ability of the natural world that is so resplendent around us to wipe away the ugliness of our world right now. For some reason our bird feeder mirrors that this year. Instead of a meager few orioles, we have had numerous ones, as well as flickers, sparrows, titmice, three types of woodpeckers, blue jaws, nuthatches, catbirds, bluebirds, indigo buntings. It is as if the Lord is reminding us, every day, of the abundance of his love and care for us and this world. Thank you for putting this into words this morning.

  • Jim says:

    The whole essay is golden and that last graf is priceless. The last sentence will be my mantra for a long time to come.

  • Well thought, well said, and a beautiful message of hope and faith. Thank you and stay well.

    Blessings,

    Mark

  • Scott Hoezee says:

    Thanks, Deb: Really lovely. (And a palm warbler? You lucky goose! Never seen one.)

  • James Schaap says:

    I just don’t understand why I don’t take such walks more often. Thanks for taking me along.

  • Roy Anker says:

    Lovely, Debra. That’s quite a tour.

  • Rob says:

    Thanks for that analogy. It’s a lovely reminder that our hope is often in the unseen seeds that God has planted in and around us. Until they germinate and flourish, we can water them in prayer. In the meanwhile, we can enjoy the many other graces that He has given, even in the mess.

  • Marcia Bosma says:

    I rarely leave comments on these beautiful daily offerings, but this one just really felt special to me. I grew up on the “West Side” and have spent hours walking the trails at Blandford. And although no one in my extended family was a member at The Highlands, we celebrated our big family Christmas there for several years. I’m excited to see the transformation over the coming years. My dad is also a birder, and I have many memories of walking in nature preserves, learning how to identify different birds by their songs and markings. We were reluctant learners much of the time. Now he is busy teaching his grandkids, who are much more interested in the lessons, because they adore the teacher. 🙂
    Beyond the memories of the West Side and the love of birds though, I just really appreciated this picture of waiting for transformation, trusting the process, and looking for meanwhile graces. Thank you.

  • Susan Buist says:

    I saw a bluebird for the first time when I was there a couple weeks ago! Last summer, there was a test plot with lovely flowers toward the west side, and then wide patches of thistles as tall as I was along some of the main paths. It’s fun to watch the landscape change over the seasons and years.

  • RLG says:

    Thanks, Debra, for the analogy, if that’s what your article was meant to be. To me it was vague enough that you could suggest a number of moral lessons. You ask if all this ugliness is a first sign of progress, then cite the incident of your parent’s grave. Of course, Debra, you bring to mind the objective reality that death is the final end. The bodies of dead people in the grave are proof of that. Mia has a different hope, a hope with no objective reality to back it up, only pretense. Is the reality of death one’s final rest from a life time of decay? Or is death, not really death at all, but only a state of being dormant, and such dormancy will spring to life in some glorious future? That may be a point which can be made from plant life but doesn’t follow suit from animal or human life. And which religious pretense do we want to buy into? With no empirical evidence we can pretend anything, can’t we? Science or religion? Maybe the transition you’re suggesting is from being a beautiful manmade golf course to being a beautiful manmade nature preserve. Reincarnation? Thanks, Debra, for a thoughtful article.

  • Joe Engel says:

    When Blandford and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan started their journey with this property nearly four years ago, we could only hope it would engender the type of thoughtful, forward-looking reflections you have so kindly shared in your blog. Kudos for your heartfelt and well-written insights, obvious patience with nature, and your ability to articulate the “meanwhile graces” of this evolving urban sanctuary. A wonderful and refreshing counterpoint to a world abounding with daily challenges! Thanks Debra.

    Joe Engel
    Executive Director
    Land Conservancy of West Michigan

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