Photo of the Month #5

A ten-minute walk from my home, I can enjoy this lovely view. Well, not quite. Since this photo was taken two years ago, a metal barrier of sorts has been embedded in the rock with a sign attached warning hikers “Deep Gorge Keep Back from Edge”.

Rockwood Conservation Area

If I were drunk or otherwise inspired to foolhardy behaviour, the barrier would not prevent me from falling over the cliff, but the installation of the bars, complete with the defaced (of course) sign affixed to them, probably means that the Grand River Conservation Authority cannot be successfully sued if such a thing were to happen. It also means that people like me, sensible enough to keep back from the edge without the warning, can no longer enjoy an unobstructed view of this gem of a landscape.

I used to go there often with my dog (she’s sensible enough to stay back from the edge too), to sit on the rock and contemplate the beauty of the trees, the water, the sky. It’s not the same now that we have to stand to enjoy it.

Big deal, I guess. There’s still lots more woods and water and rock to enjoy in our local conservation area and I’m grateful every time I go in there for the daily opportunity to do so. Still, the desecration of natural beauty in a futile attempt to protect people from their own stupidity? Well, sorry, but that’s my beef on this lovely spring day.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson

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