Over on Tamela's Place she has posted advice on respect between married couples. The last line of the last paragraph is applicable to us all, married or not, in our relationships to all around us.
"Endeavor to be perfect yourselves, but expect not too much from each other. If any offense arises, forgive it; and think not that a human being can be exempt from faults."
From the book: The Royal Path of Life by T.L. Haines 1876
This is not bragging, because I have too many failures to brag, but honesty. I try to live my live to that admonition. It is a quality that seems to lack quantity anymore. People seem pretty quick to offense over even perceived slights and very unwilling to forgive. And who takes blame for their own actions when there are so many others around to point the finger at? To me this bromide should be the foundation of good character and for a Christian, as an essential item of their spirit as the heart is to their body.
Now having recognized we need to forgive because none of us are exempt of faults, we are going to talk about the faults of others. But it isn't wrong to do this either. We may try very hard to overcome our faults, but how do we know these faults if no one ever points them out? And sometimes people have faults that are dangerous or unfair to others. We may forgive them for this, but it doesn't mean we allow them to continue doing them willy-nilly without comment. Otherwise, why have jails?
A couple weeks ago I was doing my daily walk in a state park and across the creek saw a cross. I don't know who put it there or why. If it is a memorial to someone who died in the river it is a big one. I can't tell if there is I any writing on it.
Is it in violation of anything? I don't know. Far as I can determine it is not on the Brandywine Creek State Park property or any of the land under the Woodlawn Trustees purview. Where it has been erected appears to be private property. Was it erected by trespassers or with the permission of the landowners? Did the landowners' erect it? I have not a clue.
Certainly that big wooden sign board floating in the creek not far from the cross is a violation of something. It is litter of a large scale and a danger to those who raft, canoe and kayak this water. Again, though, I don't know if it is there by intensional design or accident. I thought a week later it had been removed, but no, it had just floated further downstream.
Strangely, on the same walk I saw the cross, I did take note of several violations of park policy, some serious, some not so much.
The first violations were a mix of the messy and the menacing.
As I came back up the path from where I had spotted this cross I saw a bag lying in the grass just off the path. As amazing as this may sound, this was unusual. I see very little in the way of trash along the many trails in these parks where I roam. When I do, it is usually a water bottle, which may have been tossed or accidentally dropped by a hiker or biker. I'm not saying I never find stray paper or plastic, just very rarely and hardly as blatant as this bright bag by this main trail.
Coming to the spot I discovered this miscreant wrapper wasn't alone. That little rise just beyond the brush was littered with more debris.
Here were soda bottles, cracker boxes and candy wrappers strew about.
There was something even worse. The remains and ashes of an open fire.
It was pretty clear persons unknown had built a fire to make smores. This indicated that three violates of the parks' rules had occurred.
First, this most likely happened after dark, when the park is closed and no unauthorized person should be wandering about here. Second, there was much litter in a place that is a carry in-carry out nature preserve, Third, and totally irresponsible, an open fire had been build. We have been in a long dry spell and the fire conditions are moderate to high. A little breeze, a missed ember, and you could have easily had a wildfire here as they have had in some other states recently.
Is there any connection between this fire, litter and that cross and the bill board in the creek? I don't know, other than they all suddenly appeared in the same area simultaneously.
I didn't have to go much further or much longer to come across another violation of park policy. Unleashed dogs being walked. This may be the most common violation I see and I see it on almost every walk I take. It doesn't particularly bother me, although I understand the reasons for it. However, every time I have come upon such dogs they have been very well trained and behaved.
Now, I admit, when I come around a corner or over a hill and am confronted by a dog I grow very wary if I see no master about. One never knows what a strange dog might do. I also know that even the gentlest dog can feel the same way upon meeting me. It doesn't know what I am up to either and a sudden move could make it feel threatened, and who knows where that leads.
Frankly, the only dogs that ever really scared me on walks were on leashes. I met two Pit Bulls on several occasions on the Northern Delaware Greenway, always restrained on leads, but every time, baring teeth, they pulled and tugged on their ties trying to come at me. Each time I prayed their owners had a good grip on those leather straps and nothing broke. This did not seem a good place for these animals to be walked, on leashes or not. There are some walkers with children and children are fascinated with dogs and often run toward them without a care. But hey, I guess that is just me, an old worrywart.
I'll tell you three recent encounters with unleashed dogs.
I was on this very same trail one morning and came to this bridge. Thinking I would set my Flip on the rocks to the one side and film myself walking across here, I was suddenly startled by a large dog leaping right in front of my face from where I was about to place the tripod.
He had seemed to come out of nowhere and was quite alone. He landed on the path and looked at me and I am him.
"Are you alone?" I asked.
He said nothing.
What do I do now. This appeared to be a stray dog. He had to belong to somebody for there was a bandana around his neck, but who and where were they. Moments went by and then I heard a voice from above.
I looked up and there was a lady and another dog high up on these rocks. As I watched she came walking down upon them. I had never noticed there was a path that went up this outcropping of stone.
A second dog encounter was actually an expected encounter, but non-appearance. It was when I dared remove my shirt thinking I was in a secluded place and then this other woman with two dogs came up the path. I met the same lady a second time further down the path, meaning she had circled around (probably fascinated by my manly physique and wanted another look). She was coming just up the steep hill, that I prefer to go down rather than up. One of her dog led the way, but I didn't see the second.
"Aren't you missing someone?" I asked.
She stopped and looked back. Then she called a few times, but the other dog did not appear.
"She hasn't got lost yet," said the woman and went on her way and I on mine.
I went down the steep hill, but no sign of her other dog anywhere before me as I went. I presume it went down the creek side path in the opposite direction and knew its way home, at least I hope so. But I thought, neither dog was on a leash. She wasn't even carrying any leashes. Now one of her pooches was running free and alone through the paths, what kind of violation was that? What might the fine be if she's caught by a ranger?
My third story just happened the other day. I was hiking up the creek path, which is a narrow trail through the woods. At one spot I could hear sounds approaching from behind and in front of me. There was a little side path on the trail and I stepped upon it just as a large Bulldog bounded around a bush and came to me. At the same time, two bicyclists came from the other direction, then came a man with another Bulldog on a leash.
The first Bulldog was nuzzling my hand as its owner came up and snapped a leash upon it. One of the biker's said to him, "That's what happens when you don't have them leashed. There's a big fine for that, you know?"
"Are you cops?" the Bulldog man asked.
"Yes, we are," said one of the bikers. (I was rolling my eyes at this.)
"Well, thank you for your service, sir," said Bulldog man and the bikers rode away.
Bulldog man and I exchanged glances, neither believing these bikers were cops. Bulldog man, now with both beasts leashed, walked on down the path.
I didn't need to hear any bikers lecturing anyone about trail violations. Next to unleashed dogs, they are the biggest offenders I run into. They speed up and down these trails often giving no warning they are coming up behind you. Not all, but it is becoming more the rule than the exception, sad to say. Use to be bikers would call out, "On your left" as they approached. Now too many just whizz right pass. You seldom hear them coming until they are upon you.
They also go where they shouldn't. Some trails are marked as off-limits to bikes, but they are there. The photo to the right shows fresh bike tracks up on Rocky Run, one of the trails they are not allowed. A couple weeks ago I was on a guided tour on Rocky Run when a forbidden biker came down the narrow trail up on the high ridge. Not only didn't he give warning, he didn't even slow down. We had some old people and some children in the group. There could have been a disaster; there could have been injuries.
Bicycles aren't the only conveyance people are not suppose to ride on trails like Rocky Run. There is something else banned, horses.
Be careful where you step, friend, for this was left not far from those tire tracks, and believe me, no bicycle left this.