Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 25th


This morning business brought me to the south side of town, and so I took the opportunity to explore one of the southern entrances to the park and trail system. I had only ben to this particular entrance once before, and then only breifly, so I was really looking forward to this time in the woods.

It was humid but cool, moisture was so thick you could see it in the air, and the skies threatened to rain soon. I entered under the canopy of trees to an eerie chorus of frog, singing in alternating pitches, high then low, high then low. I kept an eye on my feet as I walked, trying to avois needlessly stepping on any anthills built on the path. As I moved down the path, the anthills gradually changed shades of color, first black, then black with tan specks, later mostly tan. Ants, I thought, were smart to build with local materials at hand, but thier choice of building location was often not as wise. But that is the insect's lot in life, I suppose, to constantly have the big crushing foot from the sky hanging over your head.

I stayed on the main beaten path, resisting the many tempting and less well beaten offshoots. I followed my course down a steep hill until I came to a little plateau, where the trail split in two, each path breaking off from the main trail at a 90 degree angle and each heading in an opposite direction. And at this path intersection, I noticed a wooden bench situated as though in front of a scenic overview. At first I couldn't see the over view due to the foliage, but as I walked up to the bench I recognized the sight below as the Kinnikinnic River, and I realized I had been at this very spot last winter, though I had arrived here by route of the trail that runs by the lower falls.

Seeing that no further exploration was warranted, I climbed back up the trail, making my way to the minor paths I had passed earlier. On my way uphill, I recalled the events of the past couple days. I had found a tiny bit of pot that I had stashed away a while ago...I'm not sure why I had the notion to squirrel away weed, but I suppose that's something addicts do. I tried to put off smoking it, to save it as some sort of reward, but within 20 minutes it was gone. I did have a couple revelations when I was high, chief among them that any idea that I had any control over my addiction was pure illusion. I also realized how hard it was to be kind, but that I really ought to make every effort to be so, otherwise my life could be rightly described as a waste. Weed offers you a sort of filter or lens, a differrent way of looking at things, which is part of the lure it has over me, I suppose. But my addiction makes me far too weak and undisciplined to make much use of these insights, so then and there I decided not to get high again until I can achieve Enlightenment, a likely unattainable, but certainly not impossible goal. I thought that the only way I could handle weed responsibly would be from an Enlightened mindset, and it also occured to me that upon attaining Enlightenment, with its einherent shedding of desire and attraction, weed would lose all allure for me, and so in this way I could compartmentalize weed out of my life forever. But by putting it in my head that I could possibly have weed again if I struggled through to true Enlightenment, I was hoping to make my weakness a driving force towards my struggle, a sort of mental jujitsu.

As I reached the top of the hill, I saw a small path and followed it for a short while and found that it ended at another overlook. This overlook had no bench, but it did have a nice rocky outcropping that you could sit on and enjoy the view. I could hear the faint sound of flowing water in the distance.

Beyond this rocky outcropping, the trail continued, winding its way down a steep and treacherous rocky hillside for another twenty feet or so. I followed this trail which seemed like it was cut more likely by water finding its way down hill than by human or animal means, until it dead ended and the top of a cliff. Looking down below, I saw the river and the firepit I'd found on my last trip to the woods. I stood there in silence for a while, appreciating the quiet, until a wasp interrupted me, buzzing by my head.

Deciding that I was not in a good place to be dodging wasps, I turned to leave, but first noticed the heron flying out over the river. I froze, the noise of the wasp seemed to fade away as I caught view of the graceful heron moving through the sky. I wondered if there was more than one heron...I'd only ever seen one at a time and just assumed it was the same one.

Once the heron had disappeared from sight, I climbed back up the steep craggy incline. Near the top, I saw what looked like it might be wild marijuana growing between the rocks in the path. I looked at it longingly for a moment before shaking the thoughts from my head and walked back out onto the main path. Walking towards the spot where I entered this part of the woods, I followed another trail, one that looked like it ran along the edge of the woods that bordered the housing development that had sprung up recently.

The path stayed between ten and twenty feet from the edge of the woods, and the foliage was thick so that places where you could see through the trees and out into the backyards that lined the woods were few and far between. The path was lined for much of the way with beautiful purple, pink and white flowers, but I noticed with some distain that it was also lind with grass clippings. Apparently, local residents had taken to disposing of their yard waste here rather than carting it responsibly down to the compost site.

And this, as I see it, is the main problem with building these housing or retail or industrial developments near our treasured resources...human nature dictates that some, if not many, people will pollute or degredate it for their own conveinience rather than take care of it out of a sense of communal responsibility. Their lawn clippings are full of nitrogen and other fertilizing chemicals, and they are dumped back on the valley that leads down to the Kinnikinnic River, polluting what is arguably this city's greatest natural resource, all for selfish conveinience. I followed the path to it's end, at a lavish backyard with a pool, sauna and trampoline.

I retreated to the wood's exit, and left just as it started to sprinkle.


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