Recently I was elected to the board of trustees of the Buckeye Trail Association. This was not something that I was actively seeking.
I feel that I owe something to the BTA. When my doctor told me that exercise would help with my arthritis, I decided to hike, mostly because of my lifelong love of the woods. So I joined the BTA mainly because I wanted to get the discounted prices for their trail maps. When my arthritis specialist told me that hiking was okay, but that if I wanted to have any quality of life in my golden years, that I needed to exercise my arthritic spine. He prescribed manual labor. I can think of no better form of manual labor than building hiking trail. Wielding fire rakes to clear the forest litter and hack through greenbrier (shudder); swinging mattocks and pulaskis to dig out saplings and to bench trails; and bending over to hand move rocks and logs and whatever else needs moving is manual labor in its basic form. And it worked. My back got into the best shape that it had been in for a very long time.
But more than the beauty one sees when hiking or the benefit one gets from strenuous exercise is the community of people that claim the BTA as their own. The diversity of people is amazing. And during my years associated with them, I have yet to meet anyone who did not embrace kindness. Perhaps it is the nature of those who practice volunteerism. Because that is what the BTA is, a volunteer organization.
And I get to help guide it. This is an adventure I think I am really going to enjoy.