Monday, January 31, 2011

Signs

One of my favorite poems I found in Runner’s World about 15 years ago:
"There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open." - Nike

In my runs around my home and around my work, I find that is not necessarily always the case. I very rarely run in town or in heavily populated places. I run in the most desolate, least traveled places I can find with my favorite runs being along the creeks and in the woods near my home. Lately I’ve begun to notice all of the many, many signs: Keep out, No Trespassing, Posted, No Parking . . . . signs for everything. Many of these signs are in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure there are good reasons for them. And to be quite honest, I’m not so sure that there aren’t signs posted at the edge of ‘my’ property.
But how can we keep the beauty of a forest to ourselves? How can we keep people out? It just seems wrong to me. I don't think this is what the Creator had in mind.  We don’t own this land – there is no way that we can! The forests from which we try to repel people have been here long before we bought it and will be here long after we pass on. We only have this earth on lease.

Honestly it is heartbreaking to see a breathtaking span of snow-spattered pines marred with a garish orange sign screaming Keep Out! And why? There have always been people who have ignored the law, who have no regard for the preservation of beauty, and really, those signs mean nothing to them. I can’t imagine that someone who would break the law and hunt out of season or destroy property would be deterred by signs.

I am sure there are legal reasons to post signs. And some signs are not as offensive as others. But is it any wonder that society has grown more and more isolated and disconnected from each other? When we blindly scream to unseen intruders to Stay Out – what opportunities do we miss to share the beauty of nature? Our greed in keeping it all to ourselves is deplorable. What good is beauty if it can’t be shared?

I say that instead of warning people to Keep Out, Stay Away, No Trespassing, that we instead proclaim to Welcome, Come In, and Share the beauty of this land that is only ours for such a short while.





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