For the first time in a few years, my wife and I walked along the C&O Canal. There I got to see a recent restoration project where, at the section that passes by Williamsport, the park service repaired an aqueduct.
To do this, they had to drain much of the canal that still held water and had to clear many trees from the towpath. Though I understand the desire to preserve some of our history, I’m not sure it is truly worth it to destroy habitats to do so.
Restoration is often a rebellion against impermanence.
As we walked farther down the towpath, we looked at the trees that have made a home on the dirt that filled much of the old canal. At that point, one can only see that the canal is there because the land dips into a broad ditch.
Nature can reverse what we build. I find both some sadness and solace in this.
It is natural to want to preserve things. I’m quite fond of temples, cathedrals, traditions, and old video games. Would I like to see them preserved?
It may be best to try to wisely preserve some things, and let others go. At the same time, we should make space to mourn what we lose.
As the climate change continues to unfold, we are seeing impermanence on a scale we may have never seen before. In order to adapt, we will have to realize that we can’t take everything into the future.
It wont be easy, though.
Namo Amida Bu
Image from aaslh.org