I spent another blissful day at The Springs yesterday contemplating the age old question: “Why am I here?” It’s the labor of love, and I know who to thank. Imitating Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations:
From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.
From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character.
From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.
From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally.
From Mike and Yvonne Fort (Friends of Lapham Peak), I learned what a labor of love is, and that has made all the difference.
I’ll never forget the time, almost 20 years ago, I was wandering the trails behind the Ice Age Trail Alliance storage barn at Lapham Peak, modestly intoxicated, playing The Battle of Evermore on Pati’s mandolin, when I saw Mike and Yvonne pulling sweet clover from a prairie they were restoring. As Lau Tzu said, “The longest journey begins with a single step”, and their vision, manifest in the prairies and oak woodlands of Lapham Peak State Park, inspired me to take the first step in discovering my own labor of love.
One last thought from Marcus Aurelius — who was probably one of the most powerful men to have ever walked the face of the earth — I heard from John Taylor Gatto in The Ultimate History Lesson: “Nothing you can buy with your money is worth having, and no one you can boss around with your power is worth associating with.”
It was a misty morning and I lingered at the Hotel Spring before heading up the trail, past the old barn site, to meet a fallen red oak or two. Keeping a trail clear can be challenging and is always gratifying.
On my way back to the truck I passed by the bend in the river across from the old barn site and decided to cut the cattails in this area too, given the excellent results we see in the “upper meadows“.
Before and after video perspectives below.
Then I headed over to the Indian Springs to tangle with Japanese Knotweed, which, per Don Dane, is growing like crazy all over the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.
I see the wisdom in Jason Dare‘s advice to focus on herbaceous weeds for as long in the growing season as makes sense. I’ll be pulling Japanese Knotweed for another week at least and this is one that I definitely need to learn how to identify in the early spring when it first appears.
It was a cool evening and I was glad to leave the bug net in my pocket.
Sand Prairie Sunset
Marl Pit Bridge Reprise
See you at The Springs!