The Nature of Nature in Johnson’s Woods

I greatly enjoyed our trip to Johnson’s Woods. Even though the trees were bare and there was hardly any vegetation other than the dead leaves on the ground, I still got the sense that Johnson’s Woods was a place where many came to appreciate and connect to nature. Despite the wintery landscape, there were many interesting sights to observe. One such scene was the sight of the frozen pond that passed underneath the boardwalk, with single sticks sparingly poking straight up through the slush. The overall effect was eerie and ominous, as the sticks almost looked like skeletons reaching through the ice. Another sight that I encountered was a tree that, though the bark itself was smooth, had bumps all throughout the trunk. It looked a bit like something on the inside of the tree was pushing against the bark to break through. I don’t know if my mind had a “spooky” theme that day and I interpreted these sights due to my own cognitive state, but it seemed to me like nature was (literally) pushing back in this forest that seemed devoid of life. This sentiment was also strengthened when I observed the moss that grew in between the slates of the boardwalk. It was interesting to think about how nature eventually takes back its space, creeping over  unnatural things placed in its woods.

I am in favor of the boardwalk being placed in that forest. One of the rules of the Leave No Trace principles is to only walk on designated trails in order to avoid trampling as much of the nature as possible. This boardwalk provides a path that protects the rest of the forest floor from being stepped on, and protects the vegetation underneath and around it. Additionally, I think that the boardwalk prevents people from straying off the path to harm trees- the only graffiti I saw were carvings in trees directly next to the boardwalk, not beyond that. Also, I think that the boardwalk allows people with difficulty walking to access the woods and enjoy the nature around them.

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