Nicholas School Blogs | Guest

Consistency in Change
by -- October 10th, 2012

eno river

I hadn’t been back for months.

Not since that late March night, before the showy blooms of redbuds covered the woods and the recognizable call of peepers filled the air.  It was after dark and as a cool drizzle started to fall, the woods began to feel like a hidden land I had accidentally stumbled upon.  It was raw and exciting.  Each bend of the trail brought a new discovery – weathered granite boulders overlooking Eno River, a downed sweetgum blocking the path, a field of invasive microstegium illuminated by the full moon.  I’ve always been more comfortable hiking at night – the land feels more intimate, like a secret that only I am in on.  As I took off my worn boots and waded into Eno River, still cool from the winter months, an American toad hopped onto the bank next to me.  He  just stood there and stared up with this all-knowing look in his eye, a skeptical welcome into his hidden land.

This time felt different.  It was a warm, autumn day and pulling into Eno River State Park for a trail run I was greeted by a parking lot full of Subarus and fellow visitors.  There was nothing mysterious or exciting, no element of the hidden land I remembered.  In an effort to add some adventure, I refused to look at the map or plan a route and took off running – hoping to rediscover the mystery.  Instead I was greeted by predictability and ease.  The ground was soft, cushioned by pine needles.  The streams were dried and easy to cross.  Red and yellow blazes foiled my ill-thought out plan to get “lost” and have an adventure.  After passing the fourth couple on their after dinner stroll, recreating the thrill from spring seemed futile.

Giving up hope on adventure, I took of my shoes and once more stepped into Eno River.  The water was warm and calm – as I waded deeper my restless legs began to relax.  I had been trying to regain  the past but the land had changed and so had I.  With this realization, I began to embrace the land for what it is now – comfortable, steady.  It’s funny how the same place can feel so different.

Yet even in these changes, there is consistency.  As I stepped back onto the bank an American toad hopped out of the leaves next to me.  He stood there, staring up with that same all-knowing look in his eyes.  This time there was no skepticism, it was as if he was simply saying, welcome back.

1 Comment

  1. Sara
    Oct 25, 2012

    Love this post and love the theme of your blog!

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff