Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lost (I-Me) Mine Trail

We had just started hiking the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park, when a volunteer park ranger passed us with a plastic bag in his hand. He was picking up trash along the trail (of which there was none), and his long athletic legs soon outpaced us.

I saw him again 2.4 miles and 1200 vertical feet later; he was on his way back down.
"Find any trash?" i asked.
"Cremains," he said.
"Cremains?" I wasn't sure i had heard him correctly.
"Yes, two sets of cremains. I cleaned up the areas, but i didn't get them all. Really, if you're going to scatter cremains in a national park, don't do it on a public trail. Do it somewhere where they're not going to be seen. There's a place where cremains were scattered five years ago, and you can still see them. If you know what to look for."

I couldn't help but think about the families of the cremains. To them, the cremains signified a person, a life, and a lot of memories. To the ranger, the cremains were ashes-to-ashes and dust-to-dust. Really, the ranger is right. If we could lose our sense of I-me-mine, even for a second, we would see that we are all just heaps of dust walking around. Some of us on the hopefully-named Lost (I-Me-) Mine Trail.

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