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Last night I dreamt of circling in the moss by the river where I was born, making a place to bed down content under the stars like some feral, ancestral thing. Animals know how to migrate and find north and build homes without instruction, so too are we animals and perhaps, in the quiet moments, know a few things ourselves without trying so hard.

This obscure 179 acres of land once belonged to Aldo Leopold’s son, as much as land can belong to anyone, and for the last 18 years has been managed in an adaptive state with replanting of native ground cover and supportive maintenance of the area’s rare and hefty oak trees. It’s just about mature enough for a controlled burn, the plan for which is being currently developed. There are trails throughout the entire thing, and it’s a surreal experience to go get lost in no other sound but the occasional bird and an endlessly swishing sea of tallgrass.

Sometimes it’s not far from my thoughts that most of this flat land was originally the border of a deep forest, grown dense and mighty from rich tillplain soil, and only later razed mostly to the ground for farmland. The river bottoms and floodplains here were never meant to look like the breadbaskets to the west, and every so often during the wet years we are reminded.