By Riley Quigley
Guadalupe River Park has always been a large part of my life. When I was little, my parents would take me to look at the roses or try to find tadpoles in the streams. Throughout the years I’ve stopped visiting; I find I don’t have time to go on long hikes or take a step back and watch nature. However, quarantine presented me with an opportunity: boredom. I started going back to the park and watching its residents, both human and otherwise, and growing a connection to the park. What interested me even more is how quarantine has affected the park.
Guadalupe has always had a relatively large homeless population, with encampments throughout the park. Something that interested me was how homeless people would be assisted throughout the crisis. I imagine it’s relatively hard to “stay at home” when there’s no home to stay in.
LEFT: This hand sanitizer station was installed after the first few weeks. It’s placed right outside the park on the side of the road, and it is usually filled. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
RIGHT: There’s also been a Porta Potty installed to help with other possible needs. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
Additionally, people have been taking advantage of the services already provided by the park. This image shows a simple water fountain. Whenever I walk by, there is almost always someone filling up empty gallons with drinkable water. This is especially important when it’s becoming dangerous to go buy water because of the virus. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
Both images above are of tents that have been set up in public-use areas like picnic benches. Usually when this happens, the person is asked to move. However, that comes with a considerable risk of spreading the virus, so for now it seems they’re being allowed to stay put. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
There’s also been a space allotted for any trash that needs to be discarded. I don’t know if this was something planned or if it just happened, but someone’s been cleaning it out every week. Whether it was planned or not, it’s contributing to the overall cleanliness of the rest of the park. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
I’m not the only one taking advantage of their free time. Many cyclists, joggers, and families can be seen enjoying the hiking trails and gardens. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
Art has also seemed to blossom throughout the park. Many fences and blank walls have been covered with graffiti art. A few of my personal favorites are the recurring “Angry Flower” and “Dabbing Squiddy.” PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
This stream is almost always dark and polluted, with anything from plastic bags to shopping carts sitting in the middle of the river. As stay-at-home orders have been enacted, the river has become somewhat see-through with more blue tones. In addition, more wildlife can be seen enjoying the quiet. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
Speaking of wildlife: geese, ducks, egrets and other waterfowl can be observed enjoying the streams. I’ve been watching a specific family of geese for about a month now.
LEFT: This is a photo from May 9, about three weeks ago. The baby geese were about one-fifth the size of the mother, maybe less. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
RIGHT: In this photo, taken May 26, the babies have almost doubled in size. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley
This goose family made me reflect upon something important: even though we are in the middle of the pandemic, life still goes on. Nature never stopped, not even when the rest of the world did.
FEATURED IMAGE (at top of post): Guadalupe River Park looks spotless and clean. PHOTO CREDIT: Riley Quigley