Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need….
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
It has been four years since I quit my job as a newspaper reporter. I always wanted to be a professional journalist, always wanted to have a salaried job with (partial) benefits, cool employers, quality co-workers and a flexible schedule – and that is what I had.
But, I never wanted to play head games. Never wanted to hurt people, highlight their downfalls, expose their mistakes, be caught up in politics. I never wanted to take on the WV State Police, or deal with the the underbelly of society.
In fact, I thought that “getting a real job” would save me from the underbelly of society.
But the truth is, this underbelly is classless. It is found in every social level, in every business, every office. If you look for truth, look for justice, you will discover that every where you look you will find something that isn’t on the up and up.
I’m not making judgments. The truth is, bad things happen to good people. Bad people happen to good people. Good people aren’t perfect, and sometimes make bad decisions or develop bad habits.
We are all human after all.
I however, in addition to my past responsibility as a reporter “meddling in community business”, am a freak magnet. I haven’t quite figured out what it is about me, but it’s true. My Mother once said you could put me in a room with 100 people, and before the end of the night, I’ll end up surrounded by the ‘worst’ of the bunch.
I’m drawn to under dogs. Right or wrong, I can’t stand to see someone going it alone. Good or bad, left or right, black or white — I am instinctively opposed to thinking anyone is dealing with life’s blows or boosts alone.
But, I digress…
I’ve been observing the blogging world of Central West Virginia since before blogging hit Central West Virginia about seven years ago. Blogs, in many ways, are like lone voices in the night, like virtually bottled messages bouncing around on the waves of the Internet’s ocean.
Sometimes, those bloggers become a community, as they did at journalscape.com, where I launched one of my earlier blogs. But sometimes, like any community, they exist with a dark underbelly.
So, six years ago, I was a newspaper reporter, and a freak magnet, with a blog on the Internet. Can you imagine how this will go?
Calpatty Press began to think they knew me. They did not. They assumed I approved of their tactics. I do not.
At some point, I fell out of the graces of the once fond-of-me CalPatty Press, and now I stand as a target. Attacks from people with fake names, and twisted truths.
Like so many others, I’ve grown tired of their rants, and see them for what they are.
I was recently advising a new newspaper publisher about the world of small town news. I realized, halfway through my ranting that I was angry, bitter, and cynical.
It wasn’t always like that.
* * *
Several times in my young life, I was fortunate enough to visit Disney World — The Magic Kingdom itself. And it was magic. Even into my teen years, the magic caught hold, and fun was the inevitable result.
In my adult years however, I returned to The Magic Kingdom with a friend who had an administrative job there, and I got to see behind the magic…
… And the magic was gone.
Sure, I still love cartoons, Mickey, Goofy – the whole crew. But for me, the Magic Kingdom is magic no more.
Being a small town reporter was a similar experience for me.
You see, I believed the magic. I believed in the system, and how it should work. I believe in strong, local, principled government, and how it should work. I believe in the goodness of good people, and that most people are mostly good.
And for the most part — much of that lies true.
Who would have imagined that an officer would take advantage of his power? That a council would cheat? That commissioners steal spam and the justice system fails and that people want to get angry about a problem, but they don’t want to fix it? Embezzlers, fraud, hidden agendas, prejudice, lies….
I didn’t want to know these things. Though some folks may never believe it, I didn’t SEEK this knowledge out. I simply PAID ATTENTION.
And bit by bit — everything lost it’s magic.
Of course it doesn’t help when you’re also harassed on the internet, stalked by a psychopath, embraced by other psychopaths — in addition to the complications of the knowledge you process, what to tell, what not to tell – what really of all the mess is the public’s best interest to know.
It was a burden, and the magic was lost.
I was disillusioned, and now I’m cynical. And even after more than two years has passed, I maintain my cynicism, but not because I want to. See, on a regular basis, I give the “establishment” a chance to magically work as it should. I give the “system” a new opportunity to regain my faith.
It hasn’t yet, but I doubt if I ever stop trying. I don’t WANT to be cynical. I just have my doubts now. I can’t help it.
So, I let the world do whatever it does, and I do my thing. Many in this world think I’m a member of CalPatty Press. I’m not. Many in this world think I’m a good for nothing loser. I’m not. Many think I’m a mature, responsible adult. I think that gives me wayyyy too much credit. Many think I’ve got it all together. I don’t. My mother thinks I’m the smartest kid in school – sometimes I’m prone to agree with her, but I can’t seem to convince any one else.
Some folks think I’m odd – - and, maybe so. But I’ve come to find that most people are odd in some strange way.
I just don’t want to know the details.
I want the magic back.
That’s why we launched Two-Lane Livin’. That’s why we turned our focus on self-reliance, good feelings, healthy lifestyles. Anyone who plants a seed in spring and bites into a resulting tomato in fall knows — it’s magic. Anyone who has chickens knows that more eggs appear each day — like magic. Bread rises, garlic heals, and the knowledge that you can sustain yourself is liberating – renewing – uplifting. It’s magic.
Talk to me about gardens, chickens, herbs, vegetables, bees, worms, or the weather — and I’m happy go lucky. Ask me about media, government, justice, politics and I’ll swing to the cynical side. It’s simply the world now, as I see it.
I’m a work in progress, like anyone else. And right now, my focus is finding that magic. Until then, I might appear a little cynical. That’s the downfall of being a realist. It’s easy to spy the cracks in the system, and hard to find the magic.
But I keep looking.
Cedar Creek State Park is obviously popular for camping, swimming, and gathering. However, not many realize they can really “get away from it all” by hiking along the seven established trails which wind through the park.
Three of the trails offer casual, relaxed paths through shaded, manicured grounds while the other four offer a challenge not many will accept. All of them are worth exploring.
This 1 ½ mile trail begins at the Park’s Athletic Field and meanders along Cedar Creek to the park boundary. Mostly level, the trail wanders along sunny banks, then meanders through the tall shaded grasses by the creek.
Many fishermen use this scenic trail for access to their favorite fishing spot. Travelers along this path could see blue or green heron in addition to riparian zone plants and wildflowers. This trail is a one hour casual stroll.
Park View Trail
This rugged 1 ¾ mile trail begins along the main road to the park, near the bridge at the park entrance over Cedar Creek, then climbs the point and follows the ridge above the road.
The clearly marked path provides a shaded aerobic workout at the beginning climbing up to take in the views, followed by a casual down hill trek to the ponds.
Rewards include scenic views of the park and surrounding forested areas. Wild columbine often bloom along this path, which is a 2 ¼ hour aerobic workout.
A project of the Nightingale 4-H Club, this ½ mile trail is laid out above the park picnic area. This trail is a wonderful location for a relaxing afternoon snack and short walk in the shade.
Mostly level, this path is perfect for exercising seniors or for introducing young children to nature. Wild violets and wild geranium grow along the path, as well as other wildflowers. It’s a nice ¾ hour casual stroll.
Grassy Ridge Trail
Grassy Ridge Trail is a favorite 1/4 mile shortcut from the park swimming pool area to the Grass Ridge Picnic Area.
Shaded, and simple, this path provides a wooded connection between private, family picnics and swimming fun. Also nearby is the playground, the one-room school house and memorial and the Country Store. This short trail takes about 10 minutes.
Stone Trough Trail
Those truly looking for a hiking adventure will enjoy this path which has the additional challenges brought on by the damage created by the 2003 ice storm. The trail has not yet completely recovered.
This 2 ¼ mile loop begins at the campground and runs up Long Lick Run then climbs a ridge. There, it passes a stone watering trough, hand-carved from solid rock and believed to be over 100 years old – but only the most dedicated hiker may find it. This is a two hour challenge.
Two Run Trail
The longest of the trails, this 2 ½ mile trail goes up Two Run to its source, then follows a series of abandoned logging roads and animal trails. The challenging path weaves through sun and shade.
This adventurous challenge varies from a wide clear road to narrow uphill climbs. Hikers can continue along Stone Trough Trail to return to the campground. It takes about three hours to tackle this trail.
North Boundary Trail
An extension of Two Run Trail, the one mile North Trail winds over interesting shale barrens to an area of large timber. Red Trillium grows along the Grassy Ridge Trail, among other wildflowers.
Alone, this trail provides an aerobic workout, but combine it with the Two Run Trail, it becomes a day’s adventure! The up and downhill trek meanders though both sunny and shaded regions. This is a nice one hour workout.