Gambles Mill First Impressions

Richmond in the wintertime is like none I have ever seen before. Mid January the sun is shining, 70 degrees outside and not a cloud in site! At first glance only twisted and gnarled seem to tangle and twist on either side of the path as the bushes and trees lay barren of their leaves. Where is the white of snow, the fresh pine smell from glistening evergreen trees and the sparkle and shine from icicles on each room or branch?

My first stroll down Gambles Mill Corridor unfortunately left me disappointed, as everything seemed dead, overgrown and dirty. A gust of wind brushed passed me as I turned around to go back to class and off in the distance the rustic red brick of Boatwright Tower stood perfectly silhouetted by the tall grey barren trees. If you have ever seen the original “Tricks are for Kids” commercial you will know what I am talking about when I say the world was painted with the colors of the wind (stolen from Pocahontas)Colors of the Wind. Red shoes skirt the murky brown puddles, red crested woodpeckers soar up into their homes nestled deep into the woods, red berries lie buried in bushes along the path and red clothed Mark Massaro sets off on through the wilderness in search of adventure. Green sprouts emerge from the gnarled branches; green grass clashes against the brown as life emerges next to the spring.< Orange, yellow and brown still remain primary amongst the foliage but they have taken on a a new sense of beauty.

“ The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim

But I know every rock and tree and creature

Has a life, has a spirit, has a name”

– Pocahontas


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2 Responses to Gambles Mill First Impressions

  1. kellykurz says:

    Wary of the puddles of mud from our last visit to the G.M.T. or as I like to call it, “the Grey Mud Trap”, I took the precaution to wear old sneakers. Of course on this adventure the puddles had dried and the trail was perfectly clear so the red shoes would have been safe. We discussed the origins of the water that is in our bioregion. We began with the creeks in the neighborhoods nearby that feed our lake and how the lake overflows into the hidden streams behind the Pier, which trickle down under the road to the G.M.T. and eventually find their way to the James River. Earlier in the year on a wonderful Earth Lodge hike, someone mentioned that only four lakes in Virginia are natural and the rest man-made. This “fact” has stayed with me and along our second adventure through the G.M.T. I noticed man’s influence everywhere. The creek pick up man’s waste and delivers it into a man-made lake which overflows into a cement passage way stream that is directed by tunnels and into the James River which has been dammed up and domesticated. Our speaker last week mentioned a domesticated animal has completely different genes than its predecessor (ex. Wolf and dog) and in my opinion the James River must have gone through similar evolution processes because of man to become the river we see today. We often converse on man’s domination of earth and earth’s rebellion and all of this can be seen in the tiny little GMT trail. Cracks line the concrete that tries to control the stream, areas of the path are lifted up as roots struggle and grow beneath the pavement, and the fence lies rusted and tangled into bushes .I see these images as a metaphor of man’s temporary but serious impact upon this planet. We can cut down, destroy and replace nature with industry but nature will always grow back in time.

  2. mm9hq says:

    Thanks for the shoutout! Sweet post!

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