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Fast is not for Every One

We gather as a group of hikers at the first common intersection. Once all are accounted for, our gang of grade school guys go off toward our first lesson. It may be visiting Lizzie’s new horse, checking out the stream for tadpoles or annoying Mr. Smith’s chickens. In any event, the half mile adventure to elementary school follows a curved path and somehow we all arrive to the school yard on time, even early enough to play kick ball. Our hikes are so psycho-emotionally essential that most all of us also choose to walk home or go to a friend’s for lunch - and how about the importance of the 200& commute calorie burn per school day for this fat-bodied boy. Car commuting neighbors slow to our pace, toot, wave and even offer a ride if they know we are spending too much time researching the newly formed ice in the bog. It’s amazing as to how aware they can be that our sneakers are muddy and wet, all the while driving on dry drives directly to the duty of the driven work world. My Godfather, Peter “the Greek” gets the rosiest cheeks when getting a peek at our peak performances as we pile into his pick-up truck. I even suspect that he times his trip so that his lips will curl up a bit as he spies our antics.
Those experiences were over fifty years ago while growing up in a rural area of Dedham. Our abode abutted the Neponset watershed and we had a clear view of the Big Blue ski way at the Blue Hills reservation. Play learning with nature and the work learning with compulsory education had a complimentary relationship. The outdoor play world and indoor work world went well together. The wedding of those worlds was well woven together by the walk, talk and just a minor emphasis on the commuter clock. Being with buds and having some fun and sun was the major mover for morning motivation.
So when my kids were preschoolers, we would investigate safe nature ways to navigate from our home abutting the South River in Rexheme to the Webster school. This strategy seemed even more vital given the biped and bike hazards of negotiating Winslow St., the main inlet and exit to Rexheme. Though my children were bused, the curved path to and from the bus stop, as well as seizing the opportunity to play while waiting for their transport was worth waking up for. Safe transport was assured during those early years. However, as they got older and needed to explore their freedom further by foot and bike, I was challenged as to how we would work with the Winslow St. whizzing of the work and gadget-habit paced people. That rat race pace flies like mace in the face of the necessary grace that children need to feel safe. We made it through that maze and faze, and I am still working for better ways to wed our town’s nature to nurture. Hence, one of my interests in being a member of the Recreational Trails Committee is to naturally and safely connect Rexheme to the Webster school. A possibility that I proposed is being investigated by BL Companies, the firm our town has hired to prepare a Comprehensive Trails Plan. If you would like to attend meetings, we invite your input. Also, please fill out our surveys which can be found at the Town Hall, Library, Public Schools and the Senior Center. For the cyber-savy, on line is fine.
As my eldest Taiji student at 97, Dorothea recently stated, “Fast is not for everyone”. I believe that her wisdom words are especially true for those young ones who need safety, grace and a natural pace in order to be nurtured and eventually even win the race.