It’s a beautiful day today in the Denver area, with bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 60s. With today’s sunshine, I’m hoping that the last pile of ice and snow in my North-facing front yard will disappear. At this first glimmer of Spring, I can’t help but reflect on nature’s resilience.
The development that I call home used to be Denver’s airport. The expanse of concrete and carbon-spewing airplanes is now a well-designed, master-planned community with sustainable practice at the core. A creek that runs South to North used to be housed within a concrete channel. That creek has now been reclaimed and landscaped with a natural meander and catchment areas to deal with heavy runoff.
I walk my dog along this creek daily, and enjoy seeing ducks and geese in the creek and ponds. There’s a nesting hawk that has recently reclaimed its tall Cottonwood. I enjoy seeing Kestrels bomb and dart, and I look forward to hearing the distinctive call of the Meadowlark to seal the sign of Spring.
I’ve seen the occasional coyote slinking along the path in broad daylight, skirting the Prairie Dog village. One day I watched a tree full of young Raccoons chitter and wrestle each other in a large scrubby tree. I thrilled to see a buck and two does bounding along the creek where it meets a larger tributary. Now we have a Beaver that has built a dam and is busily chewing away at the trees along the banks.
I marvel when I look at the aerial photos of just five years ago and see a broad expanse of concrete where all this activity now takes place. While I know that the mark of man will likely taint the soil and groundwater for some time to come, I can’t get over the relatively simple steps that have brought nature back in close proximity to the heart of this urban area.