Walking Journal / Walking

Walk 17 – Arthur K. Draut Park

. 3 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Walk 17 – Arthur K. Draut Park

Serendipity Sunday

I had planned to walk in Brown Park while my daughter Beatrice met with her Girl Scout Troop there (holler if you want to be added to her Cookie info list!) With the gorgeous weather, I couldn’t find a parking spot. So I let her out of the car to meet the Troop and I rolled out, destination unknown.

Not for long. Down the street, a sign caught my eye: Arthur K. Draut Park City of St. Matthews. I steered into the admirably empty parking lot, got out and sauntered off.

As I’ve noted about other walks, this Park contained plentiful concrete and asphalt, often creating a feeling of a road rather than a path, reminding me of Wendell Berry’s important distinction:

“The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around. A road, on the other hand, even the most primitive road, embodies a resistance against the landscape. Its reason is not simply the necessity for movement, but haste. Its wish is to avoid contact with the landscape; it seeks so far as possible to go over the country, rather than through it; its aspiration, as we see clearly in the example of our modern freeways, is to be a bridge; its tendency is to translate place into space in order to traverse it with the least effort. It is destructive, seeking to remove or destroy all obstacles in its way. The primitive road advanced by the destruction of the forest; modern roads advance by the destruction of topography.”

A few times, a path branched off from the concrete – down to the Middle Fork of Beargrass Creek or into the woods or a small, grassy pasture. I took every one I came across. I felt the soft ground give way under my shoes.

Despite the road-like qualities here, I found nature alive and well. The serendipity struck me – finding a park very near a park I couldn’t walk. I heard few birds but plentiful insects and frogs. Nearly every other walker had a canine companion. I felt surrounded by greenery – except under my feet.

I hope you, dear reader, enjoy seeing the photographs I have started including in these write-ups as much as I enjoy taking them. I have never felt especially keen to snap photos until these walks. I have only one rule for taking photos for this series – if I find a scene interesting, I photograph it. And if, when reviewing the photographs later, I write and edit the words, I feel struck in any way by a photograph, I include it in the essay. I hope you enjoy their inclusion in this series.

Currently, I’m writing under a tree and metal portico, delightfully shaded from the afternoon sun, having spent an enchanting hour in this Park. Undoubtedly, I will return soon. Now it’s time to return to Brown Park to pick up Bea.