Walking Journal / Walking

Walk 22 – Locust Grove

. 2 min read . Written by Russell Smith
Walk 22 – Locust Grove

I don't know Louisville

I had to come here too. I knew this would be one of my 30 walks. I grew up two blocks from here. I’ve been here a thousand times. 

No, I haven’t. Perhaps I’ve visited 100 times. I grew up believing I knew this place. Living in Washington, DC, for two decades, I believed I knew Louisville. And surely that I knew Locust Grove. 

These walks have abundantly confronted me with the inescapable fact that I don’t know Louisville. 

I don’t even know Locust Grove. Much has changed since I visited as a boy. Foundations of structures uncovered, tools unearthed, fragments of the lives of enslaved people pieced together, an incomplete and evil mosaic. 

I found trails I never knew existed here. I wish I’d walked them as a boy. I would have welcomed the solitude offered. Even with my heart problem, I could have walked them then. I would have gained confidence and understanding. At least, more of it. At least, more about myself, if perhaps not about the world. 

The MerlinID app informs me of numerous birds surrounding me – Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, American Crow, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Song Sparrow, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Chimney Swift, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Common Yellowthroat, Red-shouldered Hawk. Probably more avian variety on this walk than on any other previous walk. 

In 7th grade science class, with Mr. Wilhelmi, we had an assignment to learn some basic bird songs by ear and trees by sight. I believed it was a dumb assignment, so I did (maybe) the minimum. Other things seemed more important. What? I don’t know and can’t recall. I wish I’d learned them then, but learning them now gives me no small joy. Perhaps we have to lose or ignore something to appreciate its value. Even birdsong.