This is my first time at Riverview Natural Area. It is like a neglected patch of woods behind someone’s house—growing over with ivy, criss-crossed with ill-planned trails. I expect to see a few tree-houses and forts but they’re absent. At least the city took the time to number the trails and mark them with laminated paper stapled to stakes.
I walk into the park feeling out-of-touch, quite a bit like a neglected patch of woods overgrown with the desire to not feel my own reality after heartlessly severing a six-year friendship because it housed an on-and-off romance that functioned like a cumbersome, worn out, bug-infested sofa-bed during a move. It doesn’t fit through the doorway of my future. No one can blame me for not wanting to bring the bugs along. If I’m honest it doesn’t belong anyway. But the memories. The cozy moments. Then again how many time can one try and fail to be heard?
It’s nice to be out under the trees even if everything seems unremarkable in the light of my mood. I cross a log so wide I just sit on it and swing my legs over. I stand up to find a big, wet spot of fresh bird poop on my camel-colored corduroy skirt. This would normally be funny. A bird-lover is eventually going to meet with bird excrement, it’s required. But it’s squishy and I feel oddly embarrassed about walking the trails and riding my bike home with a poop spot on my skirt, as if people will know and assume it’s my own.
I pour most of my water bottle out while trying to rub the debris out of the soft ribbing in my skirt then keep walking, unconcerned that I might now look like I peed on myself.
The trail starts to head steeply downward toward Macadam and I consider that I just rode my bike up this same slope through the cemetery, that I had to rest a few times along the way and that I may not be happy arriving at the bottom to have to climb all the way back up again.
I turn around, resigned to an unremarkable walk getting acquainted with a new place. Getting up to date on my requisite encounters with bird poop. Doing the best I can to to reckon with the edges of emptiness around a pain in my heart, that will slowly fade in the recognition that the hardest way isn’t always the most noble.