Steve and the esteemed professor of philosophy, Brian Glenney, find new frontier beyond the borders of road and sidewalk.
Things are still. The air is heavy and moist. Up above, the mountains merge with cloud. Then, close by, brittle leaves are startled by wind. A quick flake follows. Then another. Then more. While roads and sidewalks will soon be rendered unrideable, skateboarding nonetheless feels celebratory as flakes thicken and a flurry of confetti descends upon Manchester.
Frantic and nimble, the Wild Turkey forages and thrives in forest-bordered places. They dine on a variety of nuts and grasses, but also occasionally banquet on All-Natural Choice Blend Bird Seed at our own bird feeder. Some now consider these birds a weed species – their populations are burgeoning at the edge of town and suburban development, just like those of the raccoon, coyote, deer, and skateboarder. This edit is a duet, a dance between wild weeds at the border.
“In wildness is the preservation of the world” declared Henry David Thoreau. It is not in the order of cities or suburbia. Real life comes from contact with the wildness of frontier. Our state of Vermont, once 80% farmland, now 80% forest, is frontier again. The coyote has come to these woods from the west. The Catamount now stalks through our ranges like a whisper. And in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, the howls are heavier, longer, and there is rumor of wolves. Wildness lies thick here. Here in this state, Thoreau would undoubtedly agree, is the preservation of the world.
Here, hardly any would agree, is the preservation of skateboarding. To skateboard in such a place is to be at the ragged fringe of a culture, where skate spots and even paved places are rare. But fringes and borders are where things are wildest. The “edge effect” as it’s called by ecologists, is the phenomena of increased species population and biodiversity at the border between two ecosystems. Life thrives at the border. Things meet, comingle, and evolve there. In Vermont we are at a border. Human and nonhuman worlds meet here and the human takes on the wildness around it, becoming something new, becoming something more. As the woods grow deeper and the howls thicken, a new barbaric boarding is being born in this place.
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