A city feels different when I stand on the edge of it, watching cars roll by like ants on the highway, seeing the city lights flicker on at night and cast their glow on the clouds. I can see the road that can take me home – I can be there in 20 minutes. But I won’t. This place is isolated from what I know. This is Valle de Oro, a wildlife refuge in the making. It’s a sprawl of alfalfa fields and the remains of a dairy farm. The plan is to restore it to a more natural habitat, but for now it’s in an odd state of old agriculture and abandonment.
In this odd place, we set up camp, eat a good meal, and watch the sun set. And in this isolation, the birds take off for the night, swirling about in black and white, up into the clouds that soak up the red and pink of the sun. Everyone can appreciate that. This place feels alive now and gives us a teaser of the beautiful thing it will become.