A canvas of tan and green extends for miles over open fields and hills, and communities of repetitive green plants are interrupted by rocks that are more colorful. The ground is dry and sparse, and most of the grasses do not grow large. At first, the Spring Creek Reserve seems incredibly unspectacular to an untrained eye. I find the simple sky— an imposing cyan about to swallow everything whole— much more inspiring.
The emptiness demands a closer look. Prairie dogs have inundated the air with their chatter, and I hear them before locating their stark white tails. It is stupidly amusing, seeing them stand tall outside their burrows, warning the wind of their unmatched menace before scurrying underground. Throughout the green, I identify the sagebrush beside me through its dusty, scalloped leaves and bitter aroma, and my eyes follow it far into the valley where bright yellow flowers pepper the terrain, indicating prickly pear cacti. Behind me is a circle of large rocks, called a tipi ring, constructed hundreds of years ago before tent stakes were introduced to Native Americans. The other rocks that cover the ground range from fist-sized to grains, from black and speckled tans to translucent whites and reds. A quick change of scale has made the reserve overwhelmingly empty to overwhelmingly intricate!
The reserve’s expansiveness is formidable, and it is still difficult for me to not group everything that I see into one broad category or another immediately. But its immensity is also energizing because it represents a lifetime of learning ahead of me; after only 3 days on the property, a number of its countless new things feel familiar already. Take the indispensable wind that the landscape humbly bows down to. This morning, it is gentle (fortunately), but it analogizes to the undying fact that there is always something more to discover for you to see. It takes humility to recognize that in an infinite universe, knowledge has no ceiling.