Using the GPS to collect precise location, distance and area gave me a different perspective of the land than I had held before. For example, in my mind's eye the pastures—which are each large enough that you can't see all of them at a time—were irregular five-sided polygons in shape. By the time I walked it with the GPS I realized that each actually has twice as many vertices.
We also measured the precise size and shape of each of the meadows that we manage with prescribed fire—quite an improvement over the 15 year-old hand-drawn maps based on aerial photographs and enlarged with a photocopier.
Some of the displacement of perspective comes from the change of seasons. Although I have been very familiar with the changes visible from the yard, places I haven't visited in a while have changed so much as to be almost unrecognizable.
As I looked out over the valley from Northside Road I spotted a structure I hadn't noticed before. With binoculars I realized it is a neighbor's house a mile away that the light was catching through the now-bare trees. Our local roads bend and twist so much that this house—which I would have imagined to be located further west—is clearly not where I thought it was.
And I explored a section of woods along French Creek (photo above) where I spent a lot of time this summer controlling mile-a-minute weed (this time I had returned to look for Norway maple seedlings to remove.) I had come to know how to find my way through the thick vegetation, where to cross the creek on tree trunks, where not to step on the yellow-jacket nest, and where to look for mile-a-minute. But I last worked on mile-a-minute here in August when everything was still thick and green. Today even the "permanent" features—logs and trunks—look so different simply because everything around them looks different.
In other observations, I have been seeing ten black vultures at a time sailing overhead. Normally I see just two of these at a time, usually mixed in with turkey vultures.