A Bit Of Zen

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I’ve been making it a point to get out of the apartment every single day but yesterday, I was itching to leave. I felt constricted. I felt a bit, though briefly, lost. It started to pour down rain and that’s when I knew I had to go. I didn’t just want to hear the sound of the rain. I wanted to be in it. So, while Matt was at work, I drove to Zilker Botanical Gardens and walked around. I was the only person there and it was beautiful. I felt like I stepped on the set of Jurassic Park (minus the lingering fear of being eaten alive). The sounds of the falls, the birds, the rustling leaves intermingled with scurrying squirrels, and the breeze. Oh the breeze. I felt like it was whispering to me. I felt connected to everything around me.

After checking out most of the place, the rain went from fairly heavy to flash flood warning rain. I put my camera in my bag and started to pick up the pace to the car and then said to myself, hold on a minute. Slow down. There is no rush. I stopped, took my sunglasses off my head, lifted my arms up, looked high at the sky, closed my eyes and felt the rain pelt my face, showering me free of any possible worries or self doubt. I jumped in puddles. I got soaked and I loved every damn second of it. I needed it. I am so grateful for that garden, for the rain, and for that moment. That was my Friday. How was yours?

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Solo Adventures

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Sometimes we just need to go it alone and yesterday that’s what I did. I packed my bike in the car, a bottle of water, and dropped Matt off at work. I headed over to McKinney Falls, about a 25 minute drive from where I live in Austin. Unfortunately, Texas is still in a severe drought, so they weren’t so much falls as a little spicket of water into a pond, but I thought it was all beautiful nonetheless. I wasn’t going to let some drought and dying plants stop me from enjoying a bit of scenery.

I hiked. I biked. I got a flat tire and then walked my bike. I talked to a few people taking photos there. Otherwise there wasn’t really anyone. I ran out of water and thought about how dehydrated I was in the 110 degree weather. But I kept walking because there was a sign that said ‘ledge’ and darn it I wanted to see the ledge. Turns out there wasn’t a ledge and I figured I didn’t want to die of dehydration, especially because there was no one around at the time, so I headed back. I treated myself to a delicious smoothie because I needed the bit of sugar and liquidy goodness.

I firmly believe that life isn’t as exciting without someone to share it with (be it a significant other, best friend, family member) but there is something about taking a bit of time to explore by yourself that gives you a different perspective. It sure does for me.

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Austin Bat Watching

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If you ever visit Austin, I highly recommend coming during bat season. Austin is known for its bats. We have bat statues here, bat boat tours and even a Bat Fest. We went tonight and it was just magical. The Congress Avenue Bridge (the road the Capital building is on) houses 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. We decided to do the lake boat bat watching tour instead of standing on the bridge because we read that the experience is much better. Turns out, we decided to go on the tour the day Bat Fest was going on. So there were loads of people on the bridge, with live music, vendors and viewers galore.

Basically, those 1.5 million bats hang out under the bridge in the little crevices and come dusk, they come out in waves. It takes them about 20-30 minutes to come out completely. They do this every day from March – October but we read over and over again that August is the month to see the highest number of bats, which is probably why Bat Fest is in August. You guys, it was amazing! It was worth the $10 each for the all electric boat ride and just beautiful to see them come out. Also, they have what they call scout bats where the ‘bad’ bats, who haven’t been all that good, have the job of scouting. They come out and go back in and do that repeatedly, looking for looming prey. They are basically the signalers, saying it’s okay to go. So it was really neat to see them at work. I took more than quadruple the pictures you see here and had trouble cutting back.

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Finishing up with the sky after all of the bats made their way east, away from the sun. It was so lovely to see all of these people in canoes, boats, and hanging over the bridge to watch something so natural and rare. It was such a pleasure and I would surely say, add this to your list but make sure to come around August.

Next up we are going to go to Bracken Cave in San Antonio which houses 40 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Boy, I thought that was a lot of bats tonight at 1.5 million.

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