Mother Nature giveth and taketh away.
This was no more evident than the day after Hurricane Sandy swept through New Canaan, wreaking havoc in Waveny Park and felling healthy, old growth trees with massive root balls still attached. What for many local residents is a paradise comprised of walking and running trails and fields and meadows for sports and outdoor activities has been permanently damaged. Waveny will not recover in our lifetime. This is what I explained to my 10-year old son, as we tried to navigate around obstacle after obstacle while running the outer 3 mile loop on Thursday.
I ran through Waveny on Wendesday by myself, the day after the storm, and as I ventured deeper into the woods, my heart was ripped out piece by piece with every 50-75 foot oak, maple, beech tree that lay on it’s side, waiting to be cut to pieces by chain saws over the coming weeks. I stood in the middle of the woods, nobody around, listening to the few remaining leaves rustle as if nothing had happened. My two sons and I enjoy Waveny as avid runners and outdoors people, thankful to have such a paradise located 1/2 mile from our home. To see it destroyed by Hurricane Sandy (and the year before by Hurricane Irene) provoked a strong emotional reaction. My sons and I had developed a strong bond with Waveny, and that made this painful.
I debated whether I wanted my younger son to experience the damage that Sandy had inflicted on “his” Waveny Park. Yes, I decided, I wanted him to know beauty and destruction, the forces that Mother Nature unleashed on Waveny, and that we have an obligation to take care of our environment (there will be discussion about the cause of these destructive hurricanes, and the possibility that global warming may play a role). But most of all, I wanted my son to appreciate Waveny Park and every run, every walk, every sighting of a deer, rabbit, hawk and owl even more, and to understand that we live in a fragile world. That day, my son came home and told his mom what he had seen with tears glistening in his eyes.
I will go back with my older son and have him share in the experience. I hope that our bonds will be strengthened. And as Waveny is cleaned up over the coming weeks, the healing will begin as we run and walk through this beautiful place, knowing how much it means to us.
Please leave us a comment with your thoughts on favorite places you run, walk and enjoy.