A Boy Meets a Remarkable Man
"When I was about
seven or eight, my job was to deliver milk from my father's farm to a
customer a mile away. For this I had to get up at five in the morning and
walk along a hillside road. I didn't like getting up so early and I didn't
like the long walk; and as I walked along I felt sorry for myself.
Then one day I met a remarkable man. I hadn't seen him before, nor have I
seen him since, yet that meeting changed my life. He stopped to talk to
me, and I suppose I complained about my long walks.
He kindly said, 'My
friend, how mistaken you are! What a pleasure in life you are missing.
Instead of complaining and thinking gloomy thoughts, you should realize
what a joy it is to be able to walk along this hillside and to observe the
growth and change of the trees.
Do you see mist rising over the valley, creeping upward among the alder
Do you see the first rays of the sun in the tree tops on the maples
heralding the sun before you ca actually see it? What a privilege you
have, my friend, to be able to take this walk everyday. I feel lucky if I
can get here at this hour once a month.
Do you know the aspens and red-barked dogwoods? Count them as you walk
along and you will find you will end your walk all too soon.'
I walked on in thought after this remarkable man left ..."
And the boy himself became remarkable. He was O. C. Simonds, the famous
Chicago-Pier Cove landscape architect who began the reclamation of the
West Michigan landscape following the devastation of the great lumber
clearing of the 1860s-1870s. The Ravine of Pier Cove stands as his
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