Local Wayfinding

We often joke with the running crew that among the group a few of us seem to have GPS chips in our brains: we’re really good at find routes and getting un-lost.

But for those less gifted in the skillful navigation of unmarked paths, finding one’s way through the trails and wild spaces of the city can be a unique challenge and intimidating enough that some might choose to stay home rather than attempt it.

This is why I’ve been delighted to see some new wayfinding signs appear on the paths near my house.

Just a few weeks ago we ran by some concrete footings that were being installed for these new trail markers. I went for a walk this morning and a new trail marker with some basic navigation and trail information had been installed.

Clear maps.

Simple icons.

Distances and destinations.

Signs like these make it more clear that these spaces are meant to be explored and enjoyed, a symbol that is not always clear to everyone who lives here. Some people may be intimidated by the ribbon of asphalt that disappears into the trees. Still others may be newcomers to the city or even the country and not understand that trails like these are meant for all to enjoy.

Wayfinding serves many purposes, but even for those of us who have built-in navigation instincts, they make these natural recreational spaces easier to enjoy when everyone can enjoy them together.

boundary

I am not a poet, but a friend has inspired me to read more of it and think more critically about its place in the constellation of my creative pursuits. Occasionally, I’d like to post a poem here when inspiration strikes.

boundary
demarcated by strict panels of hewn lumber
set against remnant forest
clinging to a river edge
and
traced between the trees
a path
serpentine cut through snow-covered scrub
bracing a tizzy of birdsong
against a distant whir of highway traffic
muffled by branches reaching for sunlight
bare in the january chill
and
traced between the trees
footprints
packing a temporary record into the snow
recalling a moment or a hundred like it
inspired to ignore one more
boundary

-bardo