The Pine Bush is a patchwork of semi-natural areas preserved not for its scenic beauty but for its unique ecology. In truth, this is not what we think of as wilderness, or parkland. It is crisscrossed by countless roads including the New York State Thruway and the Northway going to Montreal. It’s graced with power lines and corporate parks and shopping malls, and with the university where I teach. It is invaded on its own terms by alien species to the point that most of it isn’t really “pine bush” at all.

But it’s a long term project, the patient stabilizing of this mosaic of acres, and one day, maybe in a hundred years, it will have qualities more like it had a couple hundred years ago, limited species settling on sandy barrens.

So why photograph it? To be honest, partly because it isn’t easy. There are no obvious scenic moments, which I grew tired of when I was 20. That doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. Because it is quite stunning. In ways you don’t expect.

If you go there, be careful. It’s loaded with ticks, a large percentage infected with Lyme. Your dog--if you take it--will be covered in no time. Use strong repellants on your legs, pants, and shoes. And take the time to check for ticks later.