4.08.2009

yesterday made today a whole lot easier...

yesterday morning as I was winding down the last few steps of a short 20 minute loop in Rock Creek Park with my black dog brutus I noticed my dog shortcut a corner and take a path between some trees bisecting the turn
there was already a hint that this is a popular route among dogs and maybe other animals
a few more passes like this and the hint of a trail would become a trail
I decided I would try to dissuade the animals from creating another path that may become tempting for humans on this trail
so I grabbed a few fallen limbs and branches and put them in places that would make the approach off the trail to this shortcut awkward and inconvenient

after I finished this two second effort for trail repair I was approached by an older gentleman
this man was out walking his dog skipper... a dog I had seen walked by a person I knew to be his son
although I had seen this man in these woods with his trekking poles and his slow step we had never spoken before
he asked me if I was the person responsible for the efforts to slow and stop erosion at various sections of this little urban trail
I was hesitant to respond as I was not sure if he approved of my efforts... well... yes I do some work out here as well do some others
a few dog walkers try to keep things in order and well... I try to do my part

he offered thanks... I was pleased it was not another attack
I get so tired of the disapproval and the attacks
people who do nothing complaining about those doing something
they all claim to do something... I leave the trash waiting for the complainers to pick it up... as they always claim that they do something... then I pick up that trash myself

we spoke... and I did not pay much attention to the time as the conversation was interesting enough that the passage of time went unnoticed
the topics went from trails... to the history of the neighborhood... to love and life
this man was filled with great wisdom that he has accumulated in his long active life

I picked up the pace as we parted ways knowing that it would be tough for me to get to work on time after such a leisurely morning in the woods
it felt good to get a verbal reward for my efforts
there have been discussions about my trail efforts... but often the words are negative
not everyone shares the same vision
not everyone knows the direction of the trails before my efforts
not everyone has the same before/after image that I have

once home from work I returned to the same set of trails with my younger son grant and my black dog brutus
we did that same loop
pausing at various points to look for salamanders
to our shared excitement we found a few
there was observation... appreciation... of course handling... then we returned the salamander to its home and then gently returned its home as it was

then this morning the same routine...
the madness of getting kids out of bed... dressed.... and fed
with the kids ready for school I headed out into the woods with my black dog brutus
in the woods across the street I was surprised at what I saw
some of the terraced stairs that I had built had been torn out of place
not just one... but two... three... four... wow! someone really spent some time reversing what I had done

I took a deep breath... then another and then another...
I thought to myself... who could have done this? and why?
I took another deep breath... I thought to myself... well... I do not think these actions were malicious... this behavior was done by someone who wants things better in the woods but disagrees with my efforts... in reality... I am not in love with the terracing at this location
there had been some thoughts at the inception of this desigh that the logs across the trail would work as SNOW FENCES
catching the fertile soil.... then being moved... so that they could catch furtile soil during the rains so that the trails could be rebuilt

I continued on...
then there was more disruption to some terraced stairs... only at this short twenty yard hill the stairs are vital
without the stairs the hill gets slick and slippery and unmanageable
again... breath in... breath out... breath in.... breath out
I whispered to myself... these people want the same thing as me... more beautiful trails... more sustainable trails...

as I continued my walk I wondered who had done this
the actions could have happened in the dark of night... or in the morning
there had been some trail crews removing trash
the National Park Service crews cold have done this when they picked up the trash
but the clearing did not seem complete enough to be the task of an official trail crew
had this happened at midnight or in the early morning light
who had done this? what was their intention? what is their vision?

it would be good to have a shared vision and a shared effort... so that efforts are not wasted
I did not try to put the logs in place... I left things as they were
did not try to fight their efforts
instead I just went along my way and then on to work

no time to re-read
you get what you get... please do not fret



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