April 10, 2024

Construction along Lincoln Street.


A cry for survival comes from the planet itself.  A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear.

-President Joseph R. Biden


Waldo and I are back to our usual haunt – the Assebet River Rail Trail.  After two days of rest, my back feels good enough to go our usual 6 miles.  It’s been a few days since we were last here and I’m curious how the construction at the beginning of the trail is going.  The parking structure in the back of the site looks to be pretty much done, but the apartments in front, along Lincoln Street, haven’t shown much progress.  For the longest time, all I could see was that they were pushing dirt around.  Then large cement posts, about two or three stories high, sprouted up.  After that, not much seems to be happening.  They built platforms at the second and third floor levels and little else that I can see.  I suppose it does take longer for cement to cure in winter temperatures, but, so far, it’s like watching paint dry.  There’s a lot of heavy machinery running around, doing something, I just can’t tell what.  I wish they would finish so I could get back my parking at the beginning of the trail.

The past few weeks have been unseasonably warm, followed by subfreezing winds and even a snow flurry or two. It must confuse the plants terribly.  Some of the weeds have started to bud out and it’s not even April yet.  Mosses and liverwort are healthy and prolific, what with all the rain we’ve gotten.  Birds are still few and far between, although some do fill the air with their melodic lilt on the warmer, sunny days.  The migratory birds, like the Emmy bird, have yet to return though.  Spring is nigh, but it’s still more of a promise than an evolving fact.

Waldo bounds down the tarmac and onto the grassy, weedy side of the trail.  His nose is to the ground as he s-turns his way along.  Apparently, due to the couple of days we took off from walking, he’s built up quite a backlog of pent-up energy.  I’m not sure what he’s doing, but whatever it is, he’s doing it in a fervor.  He hasn’t even picked up a stick yet!  He pauses briefly to sniff out passersby, both human and canine, then is back to his mission.  Doing a Waldo thing must be a lot of fun, because he is clearly enjoying it!

Soon, we’re to the open field, once a dump and soon to be a public park, that overlooks the Fort Meadow Reservoir.  There’s heavy machinery here too, diesel shovels and dump trucks, pushing the dirt around.  Huge piles of various kinds of soil, some sandy, some loamy, are circumvented by flat swaths of well-rutted “roads.”  They’ve been doing this for quite a few weeks, now and I can’t figure out the science behind it.  Why in the world can’t they just smooth it out and plant some grass?  I’m reminded of Promontory Point, Utah, and the transcontinental railroad.  Two railroad companies, one building from the west and one building from the east, met there.  Instead of joining up and completing the roadbed, however, they just kept on building, one going east, the other west, right next to each other, for many miles, so they could continue to be paid.  Finally, someone forced them to stop, join the two tracks together and the ”Golden Spike” was driven, completing the job.  I don’t have any reason to believe that kind of thing is happening here, but it certainly is curious.  If anyone comes within earshot, I’m definitely gonna ask.

The 23-acre patch of woods, where a developer from Texas wanted to tear down all the trees and build an apartment complex, is still intact.  Red ribbons are fading on the trees where they were tied, well over a year ago, when surveyors came to do their thing.  The last information I’ve gotten is that the developer has given up, at least for now, on putting commercial housing there, but is still developing plans to do something.  Why can’t they just donate the land to the city in an agreement where the land is to be kept in its natural state in perpetuity?  Making a profit is not the summum bonum (greatest good), you know.

Waldo and I pass the English ivy tree, with its perpetual greenery, then turn around at our usual 3-mile spot.  The rail-trail is still here, haltingly warming up to greet a coming spring, with all its slowly evolving human footprints.  Sigh.

Life goes on.


Pushin’ dirt around.,

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