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Trailblazing - Gail Oare

A botanist, a geologist, and two trail enthusiasts are well ahead of me in the park. I follow as the pack mule carrying the stakes for marking the new path. I am trying not to get impaled in the thick patch of floribunda roses or slip on the soft red clay, but I need to move fast enough to stay within earshot or I’ll be lost. I hear snippets of their remarks—a fascination with a particular tree bark, a joyful exclamation at the discovery of an abandoned fishing weight. I catch up to them and hand over a stake. With the clink-clink of her hammer, the botanist moors it in the ground to mark where the path will start. Then the argument begins.  Should the path bend eastward into the woods or follow the shore of the lake to the west? Woodland trek or open air? The pros and cons, back and forth.  No matter, I think. Despite where we put the markers, come summer, the footprints of others will cast the deciding vote.

over the roof at dusk
the shortest line to the pine

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