I heard yesterday of a bike path that had been illegally cut through a sensitive natural area in Forest Park. It is a sad sign of the times. How appropriate that the most visible case of vandalism in an area known for its renegade bike culture, that bike hooligans would be the culprits. This isn’t a phenomenon restricted to the bicycling community, most of whom are law-abiding citizens who wouldn’t dream of causing such irreparable damage to a vulnerable ecology. Rather it reflects the growing conflict between our expanding and increasingly technologically engrossed population who, in their pursuit of personal gratification have lost their basic connect with the natural systems and processes that are at the root of our ability to enhance our lives to the degree that we have been able to do so. As we refine and process the natural materials and spaces around us we lose the close connection to the very things that nurture our souls and allow us to bond with our environment and by extension, with each other. I have taught my children through my words and my actions that you should always leave an area in better condition than you found it. We remove trash when we find it in parks and in the woods, and we do this not out of obligation, but out of respect for this beautiful world that God created to nurture and support us. I don’t resent having to clean up after others, but I do wish that people would be more responsible in our wild areas, because I can’t be everywhere, and I can only do so much. I’ll do as much as I can, because it just feels right.
Take a walk in the woods on the next sunny day. Find a quiet spot near a creek or under a tree, and sit for a while. Take along a notepad, because I guarantee that you will have some thoughts that will be worth saving. Talk to God, or just sit and listen, and He will speak to you. Happy hiking.