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Tandy Hills Natural Area: A Trip Through Space and Time

Prairie Notes:
November 9, 2007

Yesterday evening, during my hike at Tandy Hills, I was transported to another place and time. I've warned you before that regular hikes at THNA can reverse the aging process. I wasn't kidding.

Surrounded on all sides by head high Bluestem grass in all its bronzed, autumn glory, it occurred to me that, either I was getting shorter or the grass had grown taller. Last year in mid November, there was nary a blade to be chewed. The drought of '06 stopped the grass in the spring, before it emerged. Autumn grass was nearly non existent. This year was a horse of a different color. The landscape has been transformed.

Suddenly, in the mystery of tall grass and twilight, I was 10 years old again.

Like the luckiest of you, I was fortunate enough to have, a "field", as we called it, behind our home when I was a kid. I spent a lot of time in that field, especially Indian Summer days like today. It felt then and still feels like being suspended between fall and winter - trapped in another dimension, a fifth season.

So there I was, yesterday, back in 1961, not much more than four feet tall, blazing trails through the tall Bluestem. One day I was running in the jungle with Tarzan, the next I was fighting the Krauts in WW II. On other days I was an Indian warrior wielding a wicked tomahawk. The tall grass was my world. It was fuel for my imagination and my appreciation of the natural world.

Today, Tandy Hills transforms in other ways. This magical realm of native grasses and wildflowers in the heart of the city is a postage stamp Garden of Eden - a place of refuge, re-creation and regeneration. A hike at Tandy Hills' remnant prairie recalls earlier, more idealistic times when Fort Worth was known as, the Queen City of the Prairie.

Most importantly, as more and more green space is gobbled up to feed the greedy furnaces of the Barnett Shale madness, Tandy Hills is a symbol of hope for the children of the future. It represents a line that should never be crossed.

The Living Museum that is Tandy Hills Natural Area needs your attention, appreciation and foot traffic if it is to survive. Like Trinity Trees, Tandy Hills NA cannot be replaced. The slightest intrusion is an injustice. Proposed gas drilling at its edges will cause irrevocable harm unless clear heads prevail.

---For more on that subject, please read comments by Dr. Bruce Benz as quoted in the Texas Wesleyan University newspaper, The Rambler:
---If you haven't yet done so, it is very important that you fill out the enclosed Questionnaire from the City of Fort Worth Parks Dept. on the Tandy Hills Master Plan. Deadline is November 20:
---If gas drilling at Tandy Hills and other scared places inspires your creative side, please consider submitting artwork in the Buzzworms in the Backyard art exhibition:
---Finally, please check out, Poem #287, by Fort Worth poet, artist and playwright, Tammy Gomez. Tammy has written a poem for every day of the
year, 2007. Poem #287 was inspired by her recent visit to Tandy Hills NA. Read it, and her other poems, here:

Come to the meadow before Indian Summer passes you by. The grass, the rocks, the sky and the hawks are still here.