Tranquility Disrupted

I was working on this blog about construction noise disrupting the tranquility of my recent hike in Kanawha State Forest when terrorists attacked Paris and murdered more than a hundred innocent people.

It made my irritation over a bulldozer ripping into a pristine hillside seem trite in comparison, so I debated on whether to complete my thoughts and post them.

I have no insight into the best way to control or defeat extremists willing to strap suicide bombs on their bodies. When I try to imagine the level of hatred or desperation that would motivate someone to blow themselves up to kill people they’ve never met,  it’s incomprehensible to me.

Hiking is one of the ways I cope with the increasing violence around the world.  It gives me the opportunity to get outside, enjoy the beauty of nature and restore my inner sense of peace.

That’s what I was doing on a warm November afternoon when I hiked to the top of Overlook Rock, hoping to capture the fading colors of fall leaves in Kanawha State Forest.

I stretched out on a sun soaked rock, pulled a book out of my backpack, and starting munching on a crisp apple. Before I could settle in for a good read, there was an annoying sound, similar to the back-up warning signal that helps keep you from getting run over by a forklift at a big box store.

This loud Beep!  Beep!  Beep! was followed by the clank of metal links on the tracks of a bulldozer that was ripping across a nearby hillside, knocking down trees and scooping up dirt.

At first, I wondered if the heavy equipment was part of a controversial strip mine bordering the forest, but eventually learned that the KD#2 mine lost its permit in June after the operator racked up more than two-dozen violations.

I made several phone calls and found out the zig-zag shaped scar on the hill across from Overlook Rock is an access road cut by American Electric Power as part of a project to upgrade transmission lines that run through the forest.

Looks terrible now, but once the transmission upgrades are complete, AEP says the number of towers and lines running through Kanawha State Forest will be dramatically reduced.

The AEP upgrade is massive, so the tranquility of hiking in Kanawha State will be disrupted until at least the summer of 2017.

Meanwhile, the terrorism in Paris confirms that my false sense of security and tranquility I had hoped still existed in the world had been disrupted again.


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