Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-01-20 – It’s all about respect

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Yippie-skippie, yay, yahoo!  It’s warming up for a few days!  Tomorrow might not require wearing every single layer that I own!

Of course, a warmup in January almost always means more snow, even if it’s just a bit.  This morning a new layer of about an inch of fluffy powder coats the ground – the kind that delights downhill skiers, but not those longing for a snowball fight or who want to build a snowman.  Of course it was still cloudy… but there was an actual sun rise; a thin patch in the clouds was wide enough to let this morning’s fiery red ball of light and heat show in his entirety.

DSC03242Now, mornings like today, you might be the first to walk a public trail.  The first to see fresh animals tracks… to appreciate snow-coated branches… to leave footprints where before there were none.

A day like today, respect is the watchword.  It takes only a little extra care and attention, and you can leave the area as you found it, allowing those who will come after you the opportunity to see everything as you did – white, pure, untouched.

Things like –

  • Not trampling over animal tracks – even if it’s something that doesn’t interest you, don’t take away someone else’s fun in identifying and following critters by obliviously obscuring the newest trails.
  • Unless you absolutely need them for support or to prevent a fall, leave handrails alone.  Safety first and always, of course, but there’s a kind of appeal to untouched railings… as though mankind’s hand will be felt by nature only lightly, no matter where or when.
  • Where possible, stay away from coated branches and half-covered grasses.  Obviously, if you’re walking a trail there will be some places where you’ll have to brush against and knock down the grasses’ new snow layer.  But if you can, step around.
  • Got a dog with you?  Pick up after them on mornings like this, even if it’s not necessary or even requested.  A brown pile of dog doo mars a landscape of otherwise pristine whiteness.

If you’re first on a public trail after an overnight snowfall, be kind.  Be generous; as far as you’re able, allow other folks the privilege you’ve enjoyed and leave everything as you found it.  Just a little consideration and respect, and everyone can feel the same delight and appreciation you did on seeing the fresh, renewed area.

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