Not many people honestly want to hike 10 miles to reach a destination (however beautiful it may be) just to turn around and complete the walk back. In other words, not everyone is up for the Appalachian Trail. But it only takes 15 minutes to reach one of Kalamazoo’s highest points, and it’s definitely worth it. Looking out on the valley below, I wondered if those little cars so far away could see me too. Or maybe if they at least recognized the grandeur of the huge hill I was perched on. Probably not, but either way the trip to the Nature Center was a day that Tom Hennen (author of the poem “The Life of a Day”) would call “wildly nice.”
I can’t say how many times this semester I’ve heard some variation of the phrase “you protect what you know and love.” The Nature Center isn’t terribly far from my house, and while I was there I noticed so many characteristics in the land that were familiar and important to me personally. The Kalamazoo River being one, and also just the trees and native plants in general. I love the way golden light shines through the leaves to make a dappled pattern on my path. I’m so glad there is a place close to my home where nature can thrive to such an extent, essentially undisturbed by the busy metropolis just 10 quick miles away.