11.16.2006

rainy days... well... some amazing fall days before the rain

the recent days have been amazing...
nearly t-shirt and shorts days
long sleeve t-shirt, shorts, and the option for fingerless gloves
days that have been nothing short of amazing

the rain has not been dreadful
the rain in itself is something

the riding has been shorter
on the warm days I was able to get into the bike
well, I always get onto the bike
but I was able to get out on the bike after work
but not for anything fantastic
not fantastic, but pretty great just the same
short
not intense, not long
not as much of a work out as just a ride
it is nice to go out for just a ride

everyday starts with a some ofthe basic routines
one of the major events of my morning routine would be the walking of the dog
the used to be dogs is now one dog
brutus and I try to get a minimum of 20 minutes in the woods
there is a short walk that works like a hike right across the street from my house
it is a loop that has been beaten by dog owners in the neighborhood
over the last many years I have come to see the trails grow and change

there has been a change in the users
who the users are and what the users do
there are less people with six packs catching the sunset
while there are more people walking their dogs
the width of the trails and the beaten path of the trails show the increased volume

in addition to my occassional picking up of urban trash I also try to do some trail maintenance

the work that I do may not be text book trail work
but I try to do what I can with the placement of fallen branches and logs to catch the run off and maintain the trails

in some places the logs have really terraced the land well
there are logs that have kept off camber hills from sliding away
and there are hills that were once slipper obstacles that are now a network of clumsy stairs

I dream of the having fertile soil brought in with some indigenous plant
making the tails and the land around it more vibrant and more alive
the decline has been steady and fast
sure the land should be brown and sparse
but things have become more brown and more sparse in the past many years

it pleased me to see that the National Park Service had done some work on the Melvin Hazen trail
last weekend lisa and I took the boys and the dog to Klingle Mansion
after popping one of the last 10 or so rocket balloons we went for a hike
dean refused to go for a hike
but somehow he got distracted into the woods
as per usual he had a great time
despite his refusal to go for a hike

we noticed some nice trail cutting and a few railroad tie stairs
but
there is never the addition of any furtile soil or any fresh indigenous plants

yet, the work that was done was a massive improvement
if there were small improvements done more frequently
maybe rock creek would get the band aid here and the sling there that it needs to nurse itself back into good health

this morning I was able to take an extended morning hike with brutus
monday I took a longer than usual hike with brutus
maybe an hour
maybe forty five minutes
longer than a usual pre-work hike
everything was wet
but it was warm and fall was in all of its splendid colors
the ground carpeted beneithe my feet where the trail was nearly hidden

this morning was different
although I had the time for a longer hike
early into the hike I got distracted by some trail ideas
early in the hike I pulled a few big old rotting logs our into a wide section of trail
not sure what the full objective was
but I do know that a street deadends into the trailhead
then flows down the trail
only to cross another street before it feeds into rock creek itself
I have thrown logs down that have slowed the eroision
alowed furtile soil to gather
as well as terraced the land
which is often but not always my goal
in this case it is a goal

after a few log were dragged, cracked open, and set on the trail I kicked some soil and some leaves on the logs
trying to aid in the water tightness
maybe accelerating the ability of the log to catch the run off
but this really only happens when it rains in great volume
the trickles sneak through
the rushing run off carries more which makes more to catch
without the logs the volume of water would strip away the soil
digging deeper and deeper
rutting things out
the logs have caught the soil and filled some of the ruts
the logs have stopped the destructive natural process of the run off and the eroision

I hiked the short loop in the opposite direction
checking the woods along side of the trail for potential fallen branches to try and repair the ever declining trail
at the crest of the little hill behind the old school I decided to rebuild a stair that had been broken some time before

not sure if nature broke the stair that was built years prior
but cas cracked and broken as if someone broke it intentionally
I thought it may have happened naturally
then again I had my suspects
maybe the kids with the bikes who come in to watch the sunset and smoke blunts
or it could be a dog walker that I do not always agree with

ironically just as I finished rebuilding the one broken stair and then a second completely new one this dog walker turned the corner
he was still in the distance
while two of his dogs rushed me and barked agressively
rather than move away
I slowly approached the fast moving dogs to get a better sense of thier intention
the dog walker made little effort with even less success to call back the dogs
once eye contact was made I could see the that their bark had no real intention
they continued to bark
by this time brutus was by their side
he did not look aggitated by their behavior
so I let him approach
wondering if he would have protected me had these dogs been aggressive to me
wondering if he would get drawn into the energy of the moment
brutus did not

being finished with the steps I finished my hike with the dog walker
brutus frolliced with the various dogs
it was good to see brutus playing
with roscoe gone he no longer has his buddy
it is good to see him having fun with other dogs
when he had roscoe around he did not need other dogs
for the most part he was aluff around other dogs
or sometimes aggressive
but seldomly playful

after the moderately rainy hike I got back home
had another cup of coffee
got into my rain gear and got on my bike
had forgotten to bring grant's lunch to daycare
and had a thanksgiving pageant at dean's school
rode the karate monkey from mount pleasant to cleveland park
no great distance but a little bit of a hill

the pageant was fun
it was all cute and corny that only a parent can appreciate
just like a john hughes film
the food that the kids cooked was awesome
but no one can mess up friendship stew
the Cacchina Hopi Indian doll that we made may have had more daddy than need be
as most of the dolls were a little less rough around the edges

after the pageant and the meal many of the parents took their kids home with them
I had to go into work
dean wanted me to stay
before I got back into my rain gear I went into dean's class
the kids were pretty well entertained
there did not seem to be the start of any project
so I just joined the group
I sat in a chair rather than the floor
it was clear that I was in the teacher's chair
while the children were playing on the rug where they would sit if they were being read to
so I offered the teacher to allow me to read the kids a book

it was a Clifford Thanksgiving book
the book went well
I was animated the kids were entertained
there was some Q&A and some deviation from the words on the page
but the kids were enjoying things
the kids enjoyed things so much that they wanted more
so with the teacher's permission I read another book
which also had some informal interplay
as I was not familiar with the Clifford books of Clifford before he was a big red dog

I left Dean's class after I snapped a few photographs of the kids
then out into the wind and rain
which was an easy downhill down Mass ave

1 comment:

gwadzilla said...

I think I want to do that Cacchina Indian Doll one more time with my son

maybe I can get a few of the kids on the block to join in

set them up

put out the supplies

and let them com up with their own final results

I clearly was too involved

many of the dolls were a mass of tape

which means
less parent and more kid

it is good to be involved
guiding is different than doing
and
I did