I'm basically lazy when it comes to editing the photographs in my camera, so I never go through and erase them until the memory gets full. Then I finally go through and delete the pictures I took and for whatever reason didn't use. Doing just that the other day, I stumbled upon this one, taken sometime last Fall, on the Norwottock Trail. I believe this was taken on the Hadley stretch of the trail.
I'm not sure what I had in mind when I took that picture, but it is an interesting one. Why would someone go to the trouble of painting that sentiment on a public trail? In fact they even made a stencil of the phrase, the better to make it more legible and of higher quality. What is the despair they are thinking of? What is its cause? In what manner is it to be resisted? By walking beautiful nature trails?
Perhaps someone will write and tell me. It's amazing how often I'll wonder aloud about something in this journal and then suddenly an Answerman will come calling in my email box.
One positive effect that picture had, if not in the battle against despair, then in the battle against middle-aged sloth, is it reminded me of my nearly deceased New Year's resolution to be more physically active by doing things like walking nature trails. Rousing my resolution from its semi-catatonic state, I took the free bus to the Hampshire Mall, resolved to walk the Norwottock nature trail back to Amherst. The trail passes just behind the mall. As I crossed the parking lot enroute to the trail, I passed this mountain of snow. It will be May before that melts completely away!
The wetlands directly behind the mall were, well, certainly wet. I believe this is the area that is the center of controversy regarding the proposed construction of a Walmart Superstore.
The trail was surprisingly snowy, at least at the Amherst end. I don't think you could safely run on it without fear of slipping and falling. Unless of course you were jogging in golfing shoes.
As I strolled along past the farmer's fields, pausing occasionally for a huff of the sticky-icky primo kush (even my virtues have vices) I saw that the snow was melting on the unshaded farmland. Soon it will be time to turn the earth and place the seed.
At the end of the trail I was surprised to see a two-thirds full bottle of Amstel Light balancing on a fence. I thought to myself, there must be a story behind that.
Amstel is too expensive a beer to just casually leave behind like that, hardly even drank. It must have belonged to a wasteful rich person, or someone who was already drunk and therefore didn't care if they finished it. That was probably it, a drunken student who was forced to walk home by the trail because he stayed out past the last bus, and perhaps he paused by the fence to clear his head for the walk, and then staggered away forgetting his last beer, only to be found the next day by a stoned writer taking photographs.
Here's a video I made on the trail. It's called, "Words is Bullshit."