Connect-the-Dots: Following the Unnatural Path of Water from the South San Juan Mountains to Albuquerque
By Stacy Boone
Growing up meant worm farms, roly-polies in a jar with dirt mined from the garden and smashed lightning bugs on my t-shirt as day wrestled with evening. I turned over rocks to find hidden crawdads in water drainages and hopped after toads accidentally kicked out of a molt of leaves. I was raised in an era when a child’s mode of travel was a bike and shoes were of the “tennis shoe” variety. I was left to wander in an Arkansas subdivision with no sidewalks but wood lots and forest that neighbored in safe proximity to lawns. I rarely strayed far from an oversized circle radius of seven or eight blocks. Well, maybe more if I thought I might not be caught. My friends and I made a point to check-in at whoever’s house was closest at lunch where we were fed and promptly pushed back outside with a gesture to, “Go Play.”
In the wild, I waded in creeks, scaled trees, rushed into high grasses and drank with scooped hands most any clear water source when thirsty. I scraped my knees. My legs bumped and itched with chigger bites. Bruised was an unworried part of play. Outside was education laid bare. Unwittingly, day-to-day outdoor activities were experiments of how the natural world worked. I researched before I understood the concepts that involved a created hypothesis or abidance to a system of methods. I examined without formality through a hands-on studied approach. Without the scientific methodology, I knew that tadpoles became frogs, water moved downstream and branch buds turned to leaves. Intuitively, I expected a repetition of nature’s routines.