Virgin Surroundings: The Woodwind Lakes Nature Preserve By Vincent M. Balsamo

Houston, TX 77040

January 2004–When my family and I first moved to Houston, we lived in an apartment across from the galleria shopping center. It was a huge change from a small but growing Nebraska town. I was only thirteen when I moved to Houston and don’t think I was ready for such a drastic change in environments. When my parents finally bought a house we drove out to see it, as we drove toward the neighborhood, from the car you couldn’t see anything but forest. I thought maybe my parents bought a log cabin. We entered the subdivision, a sign by the entrance read “ Woodwind Lakes ”; I looked at it and thought the name was fitting, there were two big manmade lakes in the middle of the neighborhood. Of course the first thing my older brother and I did was go exploring around the house and down the street. We rode our bikes down “ Woodwind Lakes Dr. ” to a giant parking lot that had a sign in front of it, “Pool Coming Soon”. My brother and I were very excited and had to take a look at the construction site. As we looked around the “soon to be” pool, we noticed that there was an area behind the pool hat looked like it went on for miles…

Where does one go to be at peace and to get away from the everyday worldly life? Some people go to church, some people go to their home, but personally I like to go where no one but God can find me. A place where there are no modern creations and the sounds of the buzzing world cannot be heard for miles. It’s a personal place where you can think freely without any influence from the world, just absolute nature surrounding you. There are not many places that still exist like that; it’s like trying to find a left handed pair of scissors.

In Woodwind Lakes , a little neighborhood in Northwest Houston , there is a place that is very special to me. There is a nature preserve that has been fully protected from the ever changing modern society to make sure that no one can build anything on the land or build anything too close to it. It’s a hidden place has been closed to the public, for resident access only. The exclusiveness Is a major factor why it is so special. Most of the residents in the neighborhood don’t even know that it exists although if they have ever been to the pool they most likely have seen it many times without ever noticing. If you go to the community pool and just walk a couple yards behind it, behind the trees, ad past the bushes, there is a little trail with a sign that reads, “Nature Reserve: RESTRICTED ACCESS”.”

Once you enter the preserve and look at the trail that takes you to the center of nature, many people might be turned away by the uncut path and the treacherous looking wildlife, but I advise anyone to just keep walking down the path. As you walk down the pat you can notice the virgin surroundings, it looks as if no one has ever been there, trees are plentiful and they are so high up that they block out the sun from spying in on the green grass and the yellow weeds. The trail takes you deeper into the reserve and you stat to notice that there are not many flowers growing. There are the usual “Yard of the Month” flowers that everyone has in their yard but nothing spectacular. There is moss growing up the gigantic trees that act like they are supreme to all the other plants because they tower over them all. If you keep walking a couple feet you will notice that there is a bench in the middle of the reserve looking over the pond. When I sit alone on the bench and start to think my brain floods with ideas and thoughts about my existence in the world. Anytime I ever wanted to get away from my family or relieve some stress from school I have gone to the bench and thought. The deeper into the preserve the more untouched it becomes. There are parts of the preserve that I haven’t even been or wanted to go. Even though it is a great place to get away from the world there are many dangers in nature. There is Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and many other poisonous plants. The animals that live in the preserve are not bothersome but there is always a chance of dangerous snakes like the Copperhead Snake and dangerous insects like the Black Widow that could harm you. These are reasons I believe the nature preserve is not for everyone.

Not many people go to the nature preserve or even look for it; I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing. I appreciate what the builder, David Weekly Homes, did to protect the animals that once lived in the neighborhood. The Nature preserve is very special to me and I would hate to see it become a popular place. Sad to say that even though most people would take care of it and leave it the way they found it, and there are many people that would bring trash. I believe that I found a diamond in the rough and I’m holding on to it very tightly.

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