Search The World... In Briefs!

Friday, August 14, 2015



     Last Sunday I participated with my wife in a nature walk at the Angle Fly Preserve. I wanted to find out why Angle Flies needed to be preserved, and thought it would be a good opportunity to interact with the community while learning about our surroundings. I didn't have any delusions that I would be at one with nature; I just didn't want to be at none with it. Maybe I would see a great blue heron, or even one that wasn't that great.

     Angle Fly is a huge 654-acre park presided over by the Somers Land Trust. The park is named after the Angle Fly Stream, which flows to the Muscoot Reservoir. Our guide Michael, Lori,
Brendan, and Jan and some of the other directors from the Land Trust  took us on one of the many trails on the way to the brook to learn about the different components that make up the water table.

     As we walked along, I recognized that pesky plant that keeps making a mess of our garden, and I was about to rip it out when Michael said, "That is a milkweed plant there, very beneficial to the butterfly population. You certainly don't want to remove those from your property." "Of course not," I said, "how are the baby butterflies going to get their milk?"

     We made it down to the stream, and I learned a lot about how the stream and all the plants and animals that live there actually support it and help it to remain healthy. I couldn't see into the stream because of all these bugs running around on top, and I was about to whack four or five of them on the head with my shoe when Michael said, "Does anyone know why these water-striders are so important to the stream?" "Because the water needs to be strode?" I offered, helpfully. "Actually, it's because they are a plentiful food source for the water life indigenous to the habitat," he said. "That's what I meant," I salvaged.

     Ann from Teatown, another environmental organization, reached into the stream and picked up a crayfish, which looks like a teensy lobster. Soon she had it eating out of her hand. Actually it might have been eating her hand. I thought you could make a nice crayfish bisque out of that thing, and it would only be about 5 calories since it only makes about two tablespoons.

     I was just thinking that you sure could see a lot better if they chopped down some of the trees and let some sun in, when Michael said, "The most unique thing about this stream is that this great canopy of trees keeps the water cool, and allows one of the few migrations of brook trout in this area."

     As we were all standing around in a semicircle I fantasized about tossing my empty lemonade cup over my shoulder into the woods, just to see what would happen. But I realized that the intense, wordless stare of their piercing eyes would cause me to disintegrate into a cloud of smoke. And instead of missing me after I was gone, one of them would say, "Smoke isn't really even good for the environment."

     Brendan is a forester, the only one I ever met that wasn't a Subaru, and he was pointing out some of the local tree varieties on our way back to the car. There was a large beech, thank god, because it was a hot day. "That tree over there is poplar," he said. "I can certainly see why, it's very nice," I replied.

     We didn't see much local fauna. It reminded me of the time we went to the Bronx Zoo, and we decided to take the monorail that circles the big park so that you can observe animals in their natural habitat. I don't know how many wild animals have a monorail in their natural habitat, but I do know that we didn't observe any living thing for about 20 minutes, until a rabbit darted across an access road and received a lengthy ovation.

     Back on the trail we heard a loud chirping noise. A red-eyed vireo? Nope, it was somebody's cell phone. I was thinking it would be great to see a bald eagle or something. Even a bird with a combover would be nice. Then I noticed some movement around me. I looked closer: it was humans! They were friendly, dedicated and knowledgeable people who cared enough to procure and improve this fantastic natural space for all of us to enjoy. Even my wife was impressed; she judges everything, animal, vegetable or mineral, on how it would do in a salad.

No comments:

Post a Comment