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My journey to the Trail

I grew up in Ohio with a little pond at the base of our backyard hill. On the other side of the water was a dense mass of evergreens as far as you could see. No matter the season, the pond and the surrounding land became one giant, joy-filled playground for me, my sister and the neighborhood kids.

In the Fall, we ran around playing games like Kick-the-Can and Capture-the-Flag; in winter, we were soaring over the ice doing back crossovers and spins; in the spring, we were carpenters, building forts anywhere we could find; and in the summer, swimmers who played on black innertubes off the raft my dad built with the other neighborhood dads.

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There were no cell phones in the fifties, so when we were not in school, or watching Happy Days, we spent all our time outdoors. I seem to remember my mom calling for us to come in at dusk; but, according to my sister, who was right there with me: We came in on our own terms when it was too dark to see!

As the years went by and we grew up, my sister moved to Colorado, and I moved away from Ohio, landing in Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia. But I never lost my love of movement and play that we had as children, or the land that we called home.

By 1999, I had become a regular walker, and was living in Charlottesville, Virginia on a busy street. I trekked through my neighborhood for three years till a friend in the neighborhood asked if I wanted to try out the Trail.

I can remember being barely able to make it to the first bridge; I was weak from a health odyssey and did not have much stamina. But I kept going back daily and slowly I began to re-gain my strength. There came a time, after a few months, when I could finally walk the winding bridges without feeling dizzy.

The happiest people I know are those who are following the same likes they had when they were children.

~ sharon matola, per gregg levoy, callings

I think I can prove him right. Out on the Trail, I often feel the same sense of joy I felt running through the evergreen forest or skating on my childhood pond. And I can frequently be caught in FASHION BOS attire, and in the same kind of skirts I wore on ice. You are the fanciest dresser out here, people often say to me. I have never felt the need to put on sweats to enter a forest. On the contrary, I feel I must arrive in suitable attire to honor the one-hundred-year-old trees.

In 2005, my father gave me a camera for Christmas, which ended up sitting in the cardboard box for over a year! (See story here.) With his prompting, I finally got it out and took some pictures. The first image I shot was of a wooden bench on the Trail. When l realized that my little point-and-shoot had a big heart and a good-enough lens, I was on a mission to record what I saw and returned almost daily.

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Every time I am out here, I see you, folks tell me. And I only come out every few months! they add. You must walk twice a day, don’t you? That is rare these days, but it does seem that I sync up with old and new friends over time.

Well, you know, you may sleep at your house, but this here is your home, one friend announced. And I like to think I have many guests dropping by.

Lately, I have been having a recurring vision of myself doing what is called, in yoga, the “child’s pose.” In the dream, I am nestled on the ground in front of the old trees near the path. I am sure the Trail in all its beauty has become my earth mother after the loss of my own mom in 2006. I have tried walking at other parks, but it’s as if I have some kind of homing instinct that always leads me back.

Some 12,000+ miles later, walking almost daily for the past 17 years (with the longest lapse being 2 weeks), I am grateful I have a place I can call home.

With deepest gratitude, I want to thank the Foundation for the Saunders-Monticello Trail and the joy, beauty, friendship, and creative inspiration it has brought me over so many years.

~ KB 

Dedicated to my Sister, Darcia Bos