Appreciating the Outdoors

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a proud city slicker. I love living in the city. I like being around people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I love that there are always at least ten different restaurants within a one mile radius of me. I love that everything is open late and that I can go to the movie theater at midnight if I so wish.

It is therefore not surprising that the largest challenge I have faced throughout this internship is that I have been living near a small town. Though Nebraska may lack many of the establishments I am used to, it certainly makes up for it in its scenery. Now don’t get me wrong, Arizona is by no means dreary. (I mean, look at this gorgeous night sky at Saguaro National Park https://twitter.com/Interior/status/1018154654738370561). However, Nebraska has a lot more trees (at least when compared to southern Arizona), and fields of green stretch as far as the eye can see. My favorite part of the park is the small forest that cuts through prairie between the Education Center and the Heritage Center. The tall, dense trees provide a respite from the hot summer temperatures that have plagued the state these last few weeks. As much as I have enjoyed hiking through the park’s trails and forest, as of late I have not found myself outdoors in my free time. Park events and my own projects have kept me so busy that I don’t venture off to explore nature during my time off.

Thankfully, I was able to change that today. Every Saturday this month, Homestead National Monument has been hosting its campfire series, an outdoor event for the community. Usually the campfire involves setting chairs around a campfire outside the Education Center. A guest speaker comes and gives some sort of talk while an artist does some type of performance. Seeing as how I had time after work and that I wasn’t tired, I decided to join in on today’s campfire. This week the presenter/performer was Rebekah Rolland, a former artist-in-residence at Homestead who recently released her album.  She performed a series of folk songs, which I thought were perfect for a campfire. I’m glad I attended the campfire because it turns out Rebekah is based in my hometown of Tucson. It was nice to have that connection to home and I also enjoyed being able to just sit outside, relax, and enjoy nature. It helped that the bugs weren’t biting and that the weather wasn’t too hot.

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