Caution: storytime ahead!
When I was little, I'd go on hikes with my dad and sisters into the valley where an abandoned house lay. This house, old and decrepit with boarded-up windows and crumbling bricks, always fascinated me. As I grew up, I found myself using the Milne House, as it was called, as the subject of research papers and school newspaper articles. I loved finding out about how the house and valley it was nestled in used to be; that there were saw mills and wool mills, a general store, a dam, farmlands, and orchards of apple and pear trees, all owned by the Milne family and would have been right outside my doorstep, if I traveled over a century back in time.
I found this all so fascinating because I live in a large city. Old or abandoned structures and nature are hard to come by-- so this house, and the valley, held a sort of magic for me.
Recently, that thin dirt-path trail we used to follow through the wiry trees to the Milne House and beyond, has been replaced by a paved pedestrian path, and a chain-link fence has been put up around the Milne House. The fence I can understand, since the house has suffered from many attempts at vandalism and arson. But the path, I found a little depressing. Whereas before you'd have to pick your way through fallen trees, jump over gulleys and makeshift log-bridges to get through the forest, now you can just walk leisurely through without a thought about exploring the deeper parts of the woods. It's weird how the presence of a paved path makes an invisible barrier like that-- "here's where you walk, and here's where you don't walk."
But, I will say that the conservation groups have done an amazing job bringing life back into the valley. They've been working at making a proper, low-impact trail system (hence the paving and fence-making) and re-introducing native plant species to the area. At first I thought the ridiculously high amount of pedestrian traffic going through because of the path (compared to the next-to-nothing state it had before) would mean that no wildlife would have moved back into our area of the valley, but I was proved wrong!
A few days ago my sis ObsidianHyena
and I were walking through and we could hear frogs along the riverbank, a multitude of songbirds, and at one point Obsid heard a crackling of branches in some distant trees, across a field of reeds. The source of the noise ended up being a pair of deer! I'd heard of the occasional deer wandering through the 'green belt' of our city but never thought I'd see one myself. So, Obsid, being the adventure-seeker she is, immediately decided to trek out through the marsh and into the trees along a ridge, hoping to circle back around the deer to get a closer look. I stayed on the path because I'm a bug-phobic doof.
Apparently she got pretty close to the deer and identified a doe and a buck with wee antlers. The deer moved off and Alex returned to the path where I waited, and convinced me that we should both go off-trail and climb up the ridge to follow the deer. Needless to say, many spider-webs were walked into and many steep hills were climbed, but the deer had vanished. Still a good hike though; we went as far as the train trestle that spans the valley and had climbed high enough up so that we were level with it. It was gorgeous! The dappled sunlight coming in through the trees, with the heavy feeling of humid summer air. The train trestle was particularly awesome when standing at ground-level; you would look up and catch the glare of the sun on the rusted structure, seeing the beams' colour wash out in atmospheric perspective as it stretched away from you across the valley. It's hard to describe. It's like you're looking at some ancient, monolithic alien relic, with its sheer size and silent heaviness. It was just really cool!So anyways...
Anyway, so that recent visit has re-kindled my enthusiasm for the place. Which is good, because my inspiration for that one comic I plan on making one day (the Milne's Hollow aka Eyeboo comic) is directly tied to my fascination with the real Milne's Hollow. Going to try and hammer out the basic storyline over the summer!The Internship
In other news, the internship's going well. I'm working at a small independent games company that makes apps for the iPhone/iPad. They keep me very busy, and involve me in a lot of the technical and brainstorming work that goes on behind making a concept/designing a game. It's neat for sure, though the spontaneous nature of the whole process will take some getting used to! They keep using terms/phrases I've never heard of, like "GDD", or "we've got a drop for this game coming up," etc. It's really a learn-as-you-go type of thing, and a bit confusing at times, but I am learning a bunch so that's what counts. Regarding Awesome Things:
I just found out that in September there's gonna be a 5k Zombie Survival Race near my hometown! It looks awesome!! It's called "Run for Your Lives", where volunteers dress up as zombies and chase participants through a crazy obstacle course. You wear a belt with four ribbons or so attached and they represent your health; the zombies try to nab them from you to make you one of the undead. Apparently there are health bonuses hidden throughout the course, and other hidden surprises along the way. I think 'Zombie Survival Race' has been on my list of things to do before I die-- so I'm really gonna try and attend this thing!! SO MUCH FUN
Check it out! runforyourlives.com/