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June 16th, 2019

a positive change

Tomorrow the second session of my jail job starts. It's been, so far, highly rewarding and highly stressful. So anyway, from tomorrow I'll be back to pretty much only posting on Fridays and weekends, probably.

But so today I thought I'd share something I'm proud of, a small thing, but maybe by way of encouraging everyone else out there to be proud of similar things that you do. We have to celebrate the small victories--it's our food for keeping on going.

It's this:

I did this

This is a guard rail for a bridge over a small stream. There's a pretty significant drop--like 30 feet maybe? It's hard to tell from the photo, but the sidewalk slopes down toward the guard rail and the drop, presumably so rainwater can drain off. But it also means if you're a little kid on a tricycle or your first two-wheeler and you're doing haphazard little-kid steering, you're going to maybe veer that way.

Now look at the vertical element that supports the guard rail. Do you see how it's in two pieces (not counting that black thing between the vertical element and the actual rail)? A low piece and then a piece that raises it up?

About a year ago, my neighbor and I were walking here. This area is a development, and the road was still under construction (it still is under construction, further up), although the bridge, sidewalk, and guardrail were already in place. The thing was, the guardrail was fastened to the lower vertical element only--there was no upper piece. It only came up to my shins. "This seems really dangerous," my friend said, and I agreed. The road is a gentle incline as you look up it, or a decline coming the other direction--it was too easy to imagine some kid coming down and going over the nonfunctional guardrail.

"We should tell someone," I said. We thought vaguely about the town's highway department--but the road is still under construction. Better, I thought, to talk to the guys *making* it and see if they'd fix it.

So I kept my eyes open, and eventually I happened to be passing by on a day when people were working on the road. First I asked a young guy about the guard rail, explaining my concern. He thought it was probably too late to do anything about it, but he referred me over to an older guy. After I got done talking to the older guy, he sighed a deep sigh and said he'd talk to "the owner" (I guess the developer?)

And I went away thinking, Well, they probably won't do anything, but at least I've mentioned it.

And then some weeks later I was walking through, and I saw they'd added the second bit of metal to the vertical element, raising the height of the guardrail. I felt a HUGE SENSE OF TRIUMPH!

I mean, I still think they could have done it better--like set the guard rail into the concrete **before** the point at which the concrete slopes downward. But raising the guard rail definitely make things safer.

Sometimes when you speak up, things do change, and if you happen to notice this, take joy. There's enough depressing stuff around that we have to cultivate the joy.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/913547.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

one more story I don't want to forget

This week just past, the week between the two semesters of my jail job, we visited the Robert E. Barrett fishway again, to show the healing angel the fish elevator, and this year there was a marvelous docent there, Walter, a retired professor who grew up around here and leapt and jumped his way from rock to rock across the shallows below the dam when he was young.

He told the story of fishing for a lemon shark when he was a young man--he had wanted the jaw of the shark as a souvenir. But when he did finally catch a lemon shark, it was so beautiful that he was ashamed of having wanted to display its jaw, and he let it go. Then, some years later, he was snorkeling in the Caribbean, swimming near a pod of dolphins who suddenly took off when he got near. He returned to the boat only to be told that a giant shark had been dogging him--but not attacking him, he felt, because he had let the lemon shark go.

He loves fish, you could tell. It was mainly lampreys and shad being transported in the elevator that day (see murky pictures below), and he had a phone video of a lamprey that attached itself hopefully to the glass wall of the elevator, revealing its terrifying mouth--like the sandworm mouth on some paperback editions of Dune.

I was happy to meet and talk with him.



This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/913836.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



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