Tonight I went out to play frisbee golf with some ETC alums and some park in Pasadena. It was a fun time all around, but being out in the park really drove home for me how unfamiliar I am with the plants and animals of my new home.
Ever since the sixth grade (go Holy Family Ecology Team, woo!), I've had some ability to identify trees, and while I may not remember their scientific names anymore, I could always name the more common varieties in the woods of Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The animals I ran into always felt familiar to me. I mean, I grew up with all of that, right?
Tonight at the park, I saw some lizards, but didn't know what kind. We flushed out a family of some kind of ground bird with a stray frisbee. Kind of like quails, but I don't think they were. And, of course, we trudged through all manner of desert scrub and under trees which I couldn't name if I tried.
Basically, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Surely the library will have one of those tiny books on identifying local trees.
Speaking of trees, around the 13th hole, we saw some guys who had treed their frisbee, and couldn't get it down by throwing rocks (it was wedged high up among the small branches pretty good). I was feeling adventurous, so I clambered on up into the high branches of the tree (about 15 feet up), then walked out onto a bough near the edge, in spite of the terrified protests of my friends below. I managed to prod the frisbee out with a stick, and climbed back down without injuring myself (though I did sustain a fair amount of scrapes).
The two guys were extremely grateful, and I felt very happy knowing that I can still climb a tree at 27 - I'm pretty sure the last time I did so was in high school or earlier. Adventure! I'll probably regret it tomorrow morning, but for now, I feel hard core :)