For the past month, the morning show hosts of the radio station I listen to most while commuting have had a daily segment with Max Lucado. They’ve been discussing his book, “Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference”. This is not a review of the book, there are plenty of those on Amazon.com. This is, rather, a reflection on a few gifts I have received – things which will long outlive the giver.
Last weekend, I rode a portion of the Elroy-Sparta bike trail (http://goo.gl/dliX)with some of the Scouts from BSA Troop 24 in Hartland, WI. They’re in better shape and rode many more miles than I, but we had a great time doing it. Purchased by the State of Wisconsin in 1966 for $12,000, The Elroy-Sparta was the first conversion of an abandoned railway to a recreational trail in the nation. I’ve visited this trail, with beautiful scenery, cool damp tunnels, and friendly faces, many times, with family, friends and scouts. Likewise I have enjoyed the Sugar River trail, the Glacier Drumlin trail, the Bugline trail and the Lake Country trail closeer to home and the Paul Bunyan trail in MN. Why? Because my Dad introduced the family to these trails many years ago as a relatively inexpensive way to see cool places while getting a little exercise and enjoying nature!
This morning, my wife referenced a copy of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, pointing out some fabulous photos of “The Ledge” and how we should put it on our bucket list. I knew in an instant the reference must be about the Niagra Escarpment. As I read the article, I smiled as I recalled the portions of the ledge I’ve already visited – Cave Point and Eagle Cave in Door County; Ledge Park in Dodge County; Lime Kiln Park in Cedarburg and countless rock outcroppings in the Kettle Moraine overlooking scenic vistas along twisty roads and hilly trails. How did I know of these things? Of course, my Dad introduced and reintroduced me to them years ago and I have done the same for my children and my friends.
Tonight, my brother will take his sons and other scouts from their troop to Devils Lake. Along the way they’ll probably cross the Wisconsin River via the ferry at Merrimac. While the foot bridges haven’t yet been rebuilt from the 2008 flood damage, they might hike into Parfrey’s Glen nearby. They may have started conditioning earlier this year with a hike along the Root River trail, as I have dozens of times. How do I know of these things? Yes, Dad’s influence again.
Camping. Hiking. Biking. Canoeing. Scouts. Ping-pong. Church. Family. Friends. Driving down random roads and finding wonders like Kitchi t kippi springs (http://goo.gl/f741) and always having a camera to capture some of the memories to rekindle the magic when it begins to fade and blur with time. These are but a few of the many things my Dad has done to outlive his life and help enrich the lives of others.
Thanks Dad, for making a difference! I hope and pray that I will be able to outlive my life in ways you are outliving yours!