This afternoon, I skiied my favorite section of the Albany County Rail Trail is the section that gets out past the large and tacky suburban McMansions of Font Grove, into the hinterlands of mostly fallow farm land, heading out towards Tygert Road. It was a pleasant evening, especially as the sun started to set and all the dog walkers and power skiers flew by in their rush to escape the darkness, as I watched the sun set.

I enjoyed watching the sun set over this semi-wild land, put to the human service of agriculture but remaing largely undeveloped and wild. Many parts of the land starting to revert to woods, at least until greedy politicians and land developers turn it into even more suburban tract housing, with chemically treated lawns, vinyl siding, granite countertops and a 200 amp connection to the mostly coal and natural gas fired electric grid. The artificial world where all that really matters is your pet and your favorite program on your big screen color TV.

This land is special, because it’s kind of a wilderness that isn’t far from suburbia. It’s not a nature preserve, it”s land that is used but it’s also a wilderness. It’s a wilderness in the sense that your unlikely to see any human on the land, bar the farmer as he works the land or a hunter during the autumn land. It’s land not covered by blacktop, dominated most of the year by the wild forest beasts and to a lesser extent domestic beast. It’s a place that I can get to by a five minute or 15 minute walk, then head out along the rail trail.

Something about the setting sun, the hills, the fields, the trees, the wilderness touches something in the soul. Maybe it’s the beauty, or the wild nature of this land so close to suburbia. Maybe not quite a great as land you might see from the far reaches of county line in Berne or Rennslearville, peering into the great hollows from the hills above or seeing the grand Catskill Mountains to the south, but it’s still beautiful wild land, not too far from home.

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