I was out hiking in the rain yesterday at a trail nearby and realized how popular it had gotten over the last couple of years. It is a trail that circles a lake which I have gone to photograph dozens of times over the years. It’s a spot that had always been a place near home that let me get out of the city and wander among the trees and water of a big lake for a while. Those who have been reading for a while surely would recognize the space as I have shared plenty of photos from my time out there.
So, as I mentioned, it’s been getting far more popular recently as a space to run or bike or walk as the city is growing outward and the trail now easily connects via paved path all the way into the heart of the city. I have nothing wrong with that, it’s wonderful to have a single trail that can be taken that far for nice long walks or bike rides out to the lake but with its growing popularity comes the side effect of never having the place to myself anymore. Where I could once go out there at odd hours and have the trail and the lake practically to myself I now go out on a day in the pouring rain and STILL see joggers out dodging the drops as they head up and down the path.
It’s sad to see my favorite trails nearby slowly wear down deeper from heavier use and notice more and more trash and signs of others presence hiding in the details of areas previously overgrown with brush and trees. The thing that prompted me to write this is a couple of street signs at a tiny parking lot near the lake that I have used for years and years. It only holds four or five cars and is now often full well over capacity as cars line up down the street during peak hours of the day. The signs were put there for the growing number of people using the trail. One reads simply “No Littering, $250 fine” while the other reads “Do not dispose of animal waste in the parking lot.” Both of the signs had been scribbled on with marker saying, “NO TRASH CAN!?” and I sat there in my car as the rain beat down onto its roof letting myself get all depressed from the writing people had added there on the signs.
The reason it depressed me was it brought up thoughts of many people in this country and their sense of self entitlement. As if anything and everything they need or want should be there waiting for them. As if it is such an enormous inconvenience for them to be responsible enough for themselves and the public places they use like this and take their trash out with them to throw it away at their home or other reasonable place. Its not a theme park, its a trail out in the woods, there are no park rangers or janitorial services to wait on them and its part of what has drawn me to the area over the years is the sense of freedom from all of this that it can give.
I am not trying to rant here and be depressing, I simply wanted to make a quick statement that has been floating around in my mind and ask that my fellow humans simply have some respect for each other and public spaces. Have a little responsibility for yourself please? Im not asking for world peace here, just that we all work to be aware of our own impact on each others space. I know many many people out there already live with such respect but still, its something to remember when going through our days.
With that, I leave you with the photo above. A gift for you for following along here and helping out by being a self aware member of society ;) It was taken in Seoul and thats YoungDoo there holding it out just after she bought it for the apartment and it makes me smile to see it there floating in the bokeh.
To download the image at its full desktop resolution as well as iPad and iPhone resolutions simply CLICK OR RIGHT CLICK HERE to grab the zip also containing iPad and iPhone resolutions. Please, no commercial use without asking and please don’t re-host the full resolution images without my permission. Thanks so much for your understanding, and enjoy!