Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bypasses

Now that the old giant Sycamore tree has come down at Robbins Crossing, my new office porch view looks out on the hillside in the distance, and the new bypass around Nelsonville.

While it first makes me think of evolution of transportation in this valley (from foot trails and canoes, to wagons, canal boats, trains, bicycles, and now highways), it also makes me wonder what else we "bypass" in a rush to get somewhere.  I do it all the time- drive fast and focused on the finish line, and realize that I've not looked to the side of the road at all, missing birds, barns, deer, sunsets, or just other folks going about their business.  All have stories to tell.  All are a part of the journey. Most are never seen.

As Interpreters, we should be the instigators of the sideways glances.  We should focus on the journey more, the destination less.  As I have remarked to numerous students, after taking Ornithology, Night Interpretation, and Historical Perspectives classes, you should be careful how you drive.  Orion the Hunter rising over a Pennsylvania Dutch barn with a Barred Owl perched in front should just about make you drive off of the road!

While I would never wish for you to become a lousy driver, I do hope you are a distraction to folks who are on their "bypasses", and that you are taking the time to take the long road home yourself, occasionally.  Enos Mills once wrote that "The essence of nature guiding is to travel gracefully rather than arrive".  Whether you are by yourself or not, on a speedy bypass or sleepy side road, travel gracefully.

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