Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Walk Amid the Ruins

As No. 1 will tell you, Small Town doesn't have much going on, or it seems that way to a restless 20-something itching to get on with life outside this moldering place. We do actually have things going on, though, and one of the newer things is a towpath trail for walking and bike riding. You can ride horses on the trail, too, but I've yet to see a horse there.

The towpath trail follows the remains of the Ohio-Erie Canal, a marvel of ingenuity that was built in the early 1800s connecting Lake Erie with other waterways. The canal brought trade and travel to Ohio and surrounding places back when the place was mostly woods and wilderness. Boats were pulled by horses or mules that walked the towpath alongside the canal, and now these paths have been cleared just enough for a leisurely stroll.

What I find humbling is what has happened to this wonder of human engineering—it's all been reclaimed by the wilderness, which is exactly what would happen if we were all to walk away from everything we've built. We think we've tamed the planet, but really we're just marking time here, and when we're gone, all of our stuff will be swallowed up. The foresters I spent time with last week were quick to point out remnants of quarry work on their property, but you have to look closely to tell that humans had tried to do something there just 75 years before.

In the old photo above, you can see a clear path, but this is what it looks like now, overgrown with trees and brush.

The locks are covered in vines, and frogs and snakes and God knows what else live in the swampy bottom.

This is what's left of a mill that was built beside the canal:

and this is what nature has done with one of the old canal walls.
You can barely tell men were even here.


Rich said...

Looks like a cool place to wander and think. I bet it smells very earthy there as well.

Shazza said...

Thanks for taking us along your walk and the pictures!

lynn said...

Very interesting, Robyn! Looks kind of a scary walk though if there are snakes around. Yikes! Are they poisonous? What other scaries are lurking? I really don't know why I'm asking, I'm such a wimp and will stay awake once you tell me, but I'm behoved to ask.

No. 1's frustration is amusing me slightly. I do understand of course but am curious, what does she miss from uni at the moment? The bustle of a city? Her friends? The work? A schedule? I get the same from my older two when they visit but can't really get to the bottom of it.

lynn said...

I guess it just dawned on me. It's down to the fact that we Mums still dream that we will be enough. Our presence, love and care should do it, shouldn't it Robyn? Oh Robyn, the reality oh the reality. Our babies want life itself, not merely us now!! Waaaaahhh. LOL I'm kidding. I do understand.

dive said...

What a beautiful place for a walk, Robyn.
And a great excuse to get out of the little walking area at the Y and do some serious leg-stretching in glorious surroundings.

Scout said...

Rich, it does smell earthy, of rotting wood and swampy stuff.

Shazza, you're welcome.

Lynn, you're so right. You wish you were enough but you know you aren't. Sigh. It really isn't scary, and the snake was in the river. If it had been stretched across the trail, I think I would have turned around and run.

Dive, it so beats the track at the Y which I have decided completely sucks.

kyle@sift said...

There is more to do thasn she realizes.
1. Visit The Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts, there is always a show hanging.
2. Go see Trumpet in the Land.
3. See a show at the Little Theatre.
4. Feed the Ducks at Tuscora Park.
5. Make home made paper.
6. Volunteer at the mall's story time for kids every Thursday morning.
7. Visit one of the area's you-pick farms.
8. Clean the pool.
9. Help Kyle scrape and paint the barn.
10. Sidewalk chalk!