Searching for Nature
One of the things I miss most about home is nature. There are plenty of wonderful parks here in Buenos Aires. They’re open with lots of places to lay down and relax or trails to bike and walk on. It’s easy to get to them and they are enjoyable, but they are city parks. The nature in them was designed and landscaped to create a perfect urban resting place. While they work great for chatting with friends or doing homework, they don’t fulfill my need to be outside enjoying nature.
Last weekend I finally decided to venture to what I hoped would be my salvation: Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur. The name alone sounds like wilderness and maps showed a large green space on the coast of the city. I took a bus to Puerto Madero, then crossed Puente de la Mujer towards the reserve.
I felt immediate disappointment when I saw before me. There were fields of slight rolling hills, trees and benches scattered throughout the space. I saw a patch of fenced off land with wild-looking trees and bushes and assumed that was the nature they were persevering. But I couldn’t yet see the water, so I decided to persevere.
I crossed a road and got to a long sidewalk with food booths scattered along it. A wall separated me from a pond and a forest and it was then that I had another crushing realization – they preserved the area by not letting anyone on it.
I decided to walk the length of the reserve to at least get some enjoyment out of seeing nature, no matter how far away it was. It was a long walk and I was further saddened to see that there were stairs to get closer to the pond, but the gates were locked shut. I was considering stopping to eat the lunch I had packed when I noticed figures moving through the trees of the park. With that I had one more realization – I could go into the reserve, but I had gotten off in the middle of it.
I sped up my pace to finally reach the entrance. I climbed the steps and felt overjoyed to see the gigantic trees. After a quick lunch I started on the trail. My path would take me along the pond, then towards the river, and around to the entrance on the opposite side.
The trees were gorgeous and grand. Tall grasses lined the path, birds sang, and signs told me about the flora and fauna of the area. I was amused by the juxtaposition of nature and the tall glass buildings of Puerto Madero. This park was a real oasis in the city.
I later learned from my host mom that the reserve hadn’t started out as wilderness. As I understood it, the city had been trying to add more land off the coast and nature just started popping up in the new space. Eventually it became a natural place and attracted both animals and people; the city decided to make it a park.
Even though the place was busy, with bikes and families and joggers, this felt fantastic. Despite the sounds of passing conversations and laughing children, I could hear birdsong, waves, and the wind through the leaves. It made me remember what it was to breathe.
I’m hoping that soon I’ll be able to get out of the city and find more natural spaces to enjoy. In the meantime, this park will be my oasis.