I’ve been wondering, lately, what I’ll leave behind. What mark will I make on the world? Not that I’m planning to kick off anytime soon, but recent events have certainly brought that to mind. When you have to gear up for a Target run like you’re preparing for the apocalypse, it brings home the certainty of your own mortality.
Andrew and I have determined the safest space for us is outdoors. We might encounter a snake, have to brush off a tick, or bring home a rash from poison ivy, but there’s little risk of inhaling a deadly virus, as long as we keep our distance from our fellow hikers. There’s plenty of room for all outside.
We traveled down Interstate 20, to Tyler State Park. As we grew closer to our destination, the earth beside the highway changed from the blackland prairie soil to the red clay dirt of East Texas.
Like many of our beautiful national and state parks, Tyler State Park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. Andrew and I hiked along a trail and climbed steps laid into the ground over eighty years ago.
Outdoor etiquette instructs us to be careful, to leave no trace when we hike. Our footprints on the trail, stamped into the dust, will be swept aside by the next traveler. We take nothing but peace from the space. As we trekked along, under a canopy of green, I thought what a wonderful trace the young men of the CCC had left behind.
How fortunate our land had Franklin Delano Roosevelt as president during that trying time. When FDR established the Civilian Conservation Corps, he created hope and opportunity, not just for the men who would lend their labor to creating a legacy that would live on past their lifetimes, but for all who would visit the parks in decades to come. The challenge then, for each of us, will be to examine our steps and determine what trace our actions will leave for future generations.