Well the question did set me back on my heels a bit…Greed and corruption, the pursuit of wealth and power, self interest everywhere…there’s no doubt it can get you down sometimes. If you try however you can find the counter forces of community building, simple pleasures, selflessly helping others. That wonderful proverb about society being great when we plant trees in whose shade we’ll never sit sums it up perfectly.
One example of this generosity, can be found along the Bruce Trail I’m walking with my dear friend Cheryl. We’re into our second year now – clearly we’re taking our time and relishing our days!
This is a nearly 900 kilometre trail along the Niagara escarpment and it’s maintained entirely by volunteers and has been for the 50 years of its existence. They keep the paths clear of fallen trees, build bridges, stairways, styles and even thoughtfully add an occasional dog door!
There are sometimes heaven sent benches along the way – such a kindness, especially in poison ivy season! Many of them are memorial benches to people and other creatures who have enjoyed this jewel of a trail.
But then there are the ones that are just there out of kindness.
We have no idea who these strangers are who provide a little comfort but Cheryl and I have often discussed how we want to be one of those strangers. If I should keel over on the trail one day, she likes to say, make sure my kids know I want to donate a bench…and I ask the same of her.
On the last hike Cheryl wondered why we had to die before we donated a bench – good question! Maybe a bench to celebrate our completion – check back here in a couple of years…