I Need the Outdoors
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I feel a need to spend time outside. Unfortunately, every time I think of a favorite destination, I have to discard it because most of my favorite places seem to be on or near a creek and likely to be damaged. Finally Burroughs comes to mind and we set off to spend some time in nature. We used to head to Burroughs Park at least once a month, but it’s been a few years since my last visit.
Burroughs Park is located within the Tomball city limits, northwest of Houston, but it falls within the Harris County parks system. At 320 acres, it’s quite a sizable park. The park’s website states “Amenities at this facility include sports fields, a seven-acre fishing lake, five playgrounds, over eight miles of nature trails, picnic areas, an observation deck and boardwalk, rest room facilities, a dog park, and an award-winning barbecue pavilion that seats over 250 people.” Despite my many visits to this park, I have yet to see all the amenities.
As we leave the Woodlands area and the nearly completed Creekside Village, I begin, as I often do, to think about how much this area has changed since we moved here 12 years ago. Back then, there wasn’t much between Woodlands Parkway and Burroughs Park. I remember the riding schools we drove past on Hufsmith Road. Watching the horses grazing in the fields, you felt like you were truly in the country. It’s all gone now. In their place is a series of newly constructed neighborhoods.
Once we arrive at the lake, which is where the Burroughs Park road terminates, the sight of trees, grass and water bring on a happier mindset. Nature works its restorative power. It doesn’t take long before I veer off the pathway, recognizing that I’m much more likely to discover something interesting at the water’s edge. I have a fascination with wildflowers, and I’m not just referring to the big and bold ones, but also to the tiny little flowers that you really only notice when you’re willing to bend down to see what you might find. It’s always exciting to discover something new. I’m not the only one who enjoys this watery environment. The dragonflies flit back and forth; they’re not normally the most cooperative of photo subjects.
That Was Then
As my daughter and I head down the path circling the pond, she wants to duck in through some trees to see the hidden pond she used to visit with her friends when she was little; it’s a place of happy childhood memories after all. The pond is still there, but the trees on the opposite side are gone. In place of trees, there are now empty roads forming straight lines through clear-cut land, waiting for houses to arrive. We walk back through the curtain of trees, wanting to return to what now seems like a sheltered paradise.
Let's Appreciate What We Have
Back at the pond, we see a little duck family out for a swim. The ducklings are so small, they’re hard to make out, but it’s such a cute little scene. Several people pass us on our walk; we’re clearly not the only ones in need of a respite. It’s good to have a place like this you can seek out.
The Good and the Bad
The sound of shifting gears alerts us to the presence of a large dump truck on the other side of the trees. It’s such a jarring and unnatural sound, considering the scenery all around us, but it’s an aspect of life we’ve probably all grown accustomed to. Through an opening in the trees, we can see the neighborhood taking shape. A father and young daughter ride their bikes into the park from the neighborhood and I think it must be nice to have a place like this within easy reach. Nice also to go somewhere on a bike rather than having to get in a car.
I Wonder What's Happening Here
We enjoy watching the ducks feasting in the newly formed ponds Harvey left behind. Spraying water with abandon, they seem a little peeved at our interest in their goings on. The little group appears to be staring us down, so we leave them and continue on to the small boardwalk, which the sun has made into the most perfect ready-made image.
Different but the Same
In my memories, Burroughs Park has always had a bit of a secret garden feel to it, tucked away in the woods. I need places like this, as many people do. As far as I can tell, the park itself, happily, looks much as it always has. Unfortunately, a part of the wall has just come down and some of the magic may be escaping with it.