Sense of Decency

Listening to others, seeing things through their eyes.

An inviting path into the woods was made ugly by racist graffiti at a trailhead last year. Photo © Dennis Harrod.


At a trailhead leading to a path through woods and fields

flush with late summer’s abundance of gold and green,

where the wind rustled leaves and shook a few loose,

and a scent of fall hinted at what was to come, someone 

had scrawled a message of despair meant to harm any who read it,

or perhaps it was meant to please those filled with equal hate or fear

of people whose color or sex or beliefs were different.

And despair spread in stomach-turning waves, especially 

in all of those targeted by the message, who had come to spend

time in the woods, and in the fields, hoping to freely breathe the forest air.

A woman lately arrived in the community came to the trail  

with sunny ideas of a long slow walk and found herself instead a target

and turned away, nature’s open offering turned to cruelty that was 

anything but indifferent.

Dennis Harrod is a co-founder of Sense of Decency. On a nature trail in Central New York last year, he (and others) saw that someone had scrawled racist graffiti on the sign at the trailhead.

4 thoughts on “The path we choose makes all the difference

  1. Jim McKeever says:

    Reblogged this on Jim McKeever and commented:

    A message of despair — or was it something else? — defaced the entrance to a nature trail.


  2. A few years back my husband and I were on a bike trail. We came across a couple of women who had parked their bikes and wet down the pavement and were scrubbing. We stopped to make sure they were okay and see what was going on. A hate message had been painted on the pavement. They lived nearby and had gone home for scrubbers and pails of water/soap. We helped until we couldn’t see it anymore. They were going to come back later and make sure it didn’t reappear after it dried. They told us what bothered them most were the amount of people who passed by without a comment about was painted. Though there were those who passed while we were there and asked us what happened who expressed sadness/upset about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dennis Harrod says:

      Bless them and you for stopping and doing something. So often we don’t stop and we’re all diminished.

      Liked by 2 people

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