The final Silent Walk of my residency at Black Rock Forest brought together the usual suspects of artists, nature-lovers, and the curious. At least 5 of the 23 were first time walkers, but we felt like old friends, chatting and laughing to get it out of our systems before starting.
We then walked together released from conversation, and like herd
animals, only paid attention to each other's movements. The forest drew our focus.
Along with the meditative calm one might expect, the walks require patience. To be still for so long takes self control, but offers a chance to notice the subtlety of the night--a turtle's head peeping up from the water, the circular flight of mayflies, the fading silhouette of trees on the far shore. We are left with the memory of what we noticed, an aesthetic frame unique to each person.
On this June night, the evening breeze kicked up texture on the water and carried bullfrog calls across the Upper Reservoir. Even though we missed the super moon, our late start meant we walked in the primordial thrill of near total darkness. Once finished, we drank a toast to Black Rock Forest, the end of the residency, and the Silent Walks. I am truly grateful for everyone who participated and for the pristine landscape we witnessed together.
Participants have the option of writing brief thoughts about the walk, which are shared here along with photographs and videos taken by the Silent Walks photographer, Thom Munterich. Click on a photo to enlarge.
|waiting for everyone to arrive|
I loved seeing the last of the sunlight filter through the trees.
|toward Aleck Meadow|
|chestnut oak (thanks, Angie)|
|the color of water|
My favorite part tonight was all the sounds--birds on the way up and frogs and insects on the way down.
One thing that struck me was the abundance of birdsong that accompanied us on our walk as it was in stark contrast to our silence and much easier to hear and enjoy because of our silence. When we stopped, I watched the subtle color changes across the sky and hypnotic waves of water. As we walked back through the dusky light, I noticed the contrast of tree trunks that had changed from pale purple to deep purple as the sun disappeared.
The forest in the dark-so cool!
I sincerely thank the staff of Black Rock Forest for their support, advice, and professionalism throughout my residency, especially Brienne Cliadakis, Suzanne Vondrak, Aaron Culotta, and Matt Brady.
Black Rock Forest is a living laboratory for field-based research and education, encompassing native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that are increasingly rare in the region. Interested in supporting the scientific understanding of the natural world through research, education and conservation?
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