TMR - Snowy Day in KCMO - Looooong as Usual

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L Hays

I was putting away the carpentry tools yesterday after a full day of rebuilding the hearth and
mantle in my not-so-decrepit turn of the century abode when a knock sounded at the door. It was my
buddy from down the street who is one of our local trail stewards and a partner in mayhem. He asked
what I was doing this weekend and wanted to know if I wanted to break some trail with him. He wanted
to finish up a loop that we have been trying to establish in a park given to my local chapter of
Earthriders for use. I carefully looked over at SWMBO and said "Definitely, what time are you coming
by?" I could have swore I could have heard a little voice saying "What about the house?" but it was
all just my imagination

Being unemployed sucks, but I'm nearing the end of my severance period and I'm forced to finish all
of these house restoration projects before rejoining the ranks of the 9 to 5ers. I've been busting
my ass trying to get my projects finished and I needed what I've called my shot of therapy; walking
through the woods and bringing trails to life.

Tool (not his real name) swings by my house at the crack of 10:30 and we load up. He brings the
trail dog, Moab, and I bring my youngest son.

We had received a light dusting of snow overnight and the ground still held on to a couple inches
here and there where the sun just couldn't get to it to melt it. We have had about 8 inches fall
within the last 2-3 weeks and I'm just now adjusting to this ****. Thank Gawd for spring.

As we are driving over to the trails, I saw a pain in Tool's face as we listened to Stone Gossard's
solo effort called Brad. I had to ask why the somber mood. Unfortunately my buddy lost a friend in a
ice-related car accident a couple of days earlier and he's understandably taking it hard. The guy
was our age (early thirties) and he and his wife were both lost in the accident. He tells me that he
needed to get out and hit the trails for therapy. I was touched that he thought of me at a time like
this and was also intrigued by his use of words ( Hey Tool, the therapy thing is my line).

It was a cold moist morning that held the promise of some more white stuff lay crowns of ice upon
our covered heads at any time. 27 degrees and perfect for digging. We had a section that needed
bench cutting, then traverse an armored creek crossing, then clear a series of 180s. The pooch Moab
was driving us crazy with sticks he wanted us to throw and my son was being a little trooper trying
to use a rake 4 times his size. I'm real big on those moments where not much or nothing has to be
said but you are still communicating. I've mentioned it in other reports, mainly because it only
happens three times in my life:
1. When you are so in love or in touch with someone that you don't need to speak because you are so
content with whoever you are spending time with at the time (wife, kids, etc)
2. In the woods. That's it... in the woods. I surround myself with like-minded people who enjoy the
surroundings as much I do. My trails/mtb club has introduced me to so many people I get along
with because I probably haven't spoken more than 100 words to them. But the 100 words that were
spoken, were mind provoking, creative words (Start the bench cut here, do you think the trail is
flowing enough?, where should it go from here? Did you see that deer?)
3. While on maneuvers in the woods with a squad of close-knit scouts, en-route to an OP and soaking
in the sounds and smells of the woods around you.

But, I digress... The bench cut went smooth, and the pulaskis broke ground with ease. The DR mower
kept stalling every 15' or so and I could hear Tool screaming blasphemy at the gas-powered devil
he had counted on to cut this trail. I couldn't get the blower to start, so I ended up raking a
section that was probably close to 1/8th of a mile. I was just raking along as my son plodded next
to me asking various questions and singing songs to me that he had learned at pre-school earlier
in the week.

We finished up what we could and walked a little of the trail together. We discussed future routes,
plans for the place and I threw a couple of ideas at him. The trail we were working today is a
little out of the way and I don't know how much of a "regular"stop this will be for riders in the
area. I asked if he would consider using the park as a testing ground to try out different
techniques of TM. Armoring, bridge building, etc. He mulled the idea for a couple of minutes and
said it was a definite maybe. That'll work for me.

We wrapped up because the weather had done just what was expected and proceeded to dump fat flakes
of snow upon the trails. We scraped the mud off the tools, boots, and paws, and headed out. In the
end we estimated that we cleared about a little more than a 1/8th of a mile. This was done in about
3 hours with only about 100 words between us. I looked over at him and the pained look was gone,
replaced with a faint hint of content.

We drove to my house, silently.

L Hays wrote:
> I was putting away the carpentry tools yesterday after a full day of rebuilding the hearth t

thank you.... beautiful.

Lance says:

<snip volumes>

Productive, unpaid, enjoyable work that improves things - nature's best therapy.

Thanks for reminding me. ;-)

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