My principle form of exercise is walking and though I sometimes walk on the sidewalks and streets in my neighborhood, I prefer to drive 5 to 10 minutes to one of the several parks, greenbelts or nature preserves near my home. Yesterday I walked at Bluff Lake Nature Center. At the time we went we saw many birds and small animals resting in the shade of cottonwood trees but few actually swimming. As the sun slid lower, the mallards ventured out. We saw our first deer. Though we knew there was a small herd here, we had not seen any personally. We didn't stay as long as we usually do because of the mosquitos. We've had a lot of rain so the lake is high and a perfect breeding place for the little predators.
As the election draws near I find fewer places where I can find peace. Many of the places I once went to for solitude have now become an issue in the campaign as two of my concerns, the anti-environmental "takings" of wetlands--such as the one in the photo--and the increase in the amount of mercury allowed to be dumped in waterways, are being highlighted as yet another failure by the Bush adminstration. It is increasingly more difficult to visit my favorite places without becoming angry at the squandering of our natural resources to benefit mining, drilling, logging or chemical corporations. I imagine this anger will just sit in the pit of my stomach until after the election.
On our trip to Brazil in July we visited an area where few tourists go. Most of the families we met had never seen someone from the USA in person. Almost all of them asked if we approved of Bush. When we assured them that we did not, they shared that they were fearful of what Bush might do next. One man said he didn't judge all Americans by Bush but said that he feels that President Bush has become an embarassment for our country. That is a sentiment that has been expressed by many of our international friends. Another common comment is that they no longer want to visit the U.S. I really hope we can hold our heads higher after the election but I fear for the future of a country where half the potential voters say they think four more years of Bush is a good idea.