Tuna and I are back in my hometown of Cortland, New York visiting my mother and friends before I head off for Yellowstone. Sometimes I wonder why in the heck my mother leaves the paradise of Siesta Key, Florida and returns to little ole Cortland but having Lime Hollow Nature Center in the backyard is as close to heaven as you can get. During our jaunt, every 20 minutes or so, a random person would appear from behind a tree and walk to some other spot in the forest. These aimless wanderers crossed my path several times with no acknowledgement of me whatsoever. Needless to say, I was a little creeped out until I saw a SUNY ESF van in the far parking lot. Then I put two-and-two together and realized those aimless zombies were just Stumpies from my alma mater. I bet if I didn’t enjoy taking photos so much, I would also be aimlessly wandering, never looking up to take it all in. You really do miss the big picture when you’re hyper-focused on finding one thing. I’m a herper so my gaze is trained downwards most of the time and I’m constantly having to remind myself to look up and enjoy nature in its entirety. Most of the photos are from the Chicago Bog area (Doughnut Pond to us local folk), which was my magical place when I was growing up. It’s so beautiful! I’m forever grateful to a college wetlands course that allowed me to venture out onto the sphagnum mat in the middle to take soil samples, eat cranberries, and learn the inner workings of the place I grew up so entranced by. Let me take this moment to express my gratitude to Peter and the rest of the employees and volunteers of the Lime Hollow Nature Center for performing top-notch trail maintenance and installing engaging and informative interpretive signs. The place is well kept and it warms my heart to know that the land will be respectfully preserved for future little Jaime’s to explore.