Caudill: Leave the community a better place for those who follow

Published 10:01 am Friday, January 3, 2020

I recently went to the Clark County Public Library for some research on an upcoming project.

I took some time before heading inside to enjoy the unseasonably warm temperatures outside.

With my small lunch in hand, I walked up the hill and enjoyed it while sitting under the persimmon tree at Holly Rood.

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I often stop there for introspection and remembrance of our local and national history.

It was at that time I noticed two distinctly different things that aroused in me similar emotions.

The first is the flagpole had a lock on it. Normally, this does not catch my eye but the American and Commonwealth flags were in disarray. I wanted to get them back into their proper place.

Because of the lock, I could not lower the flags, get them untangled and then raise them back up. There is a protocol to such things I learned as a sixth grader at Victory Heights Elementary School (now STRIDE headquarters).

As I sat there enjoying the breeze and watching the birds and squirrels get the last of the ripe persimmons, I questioned why a lock was needed.

My guess is someone would most likely lower and destroy them or possibly even steal them. It is a sad to me we find ourselves in a time and place when the symbol of our freedom and unity as a nation must be locked away.

The second situation gets to the heart of this column.

There were two visitors to the park who came by as I was enjoying the surprise warmth of the late December day.

They were out walking their dogs and enjoying the same collective breeze I was.

It was then I was severely disappointed.

As I looked their direction, I could see the monument to Gov. James Clark over their shoulder and read the words “Lawyer, Jurist, Statesman” that are upon it. It was in that line of site one of the dogs took the time to drop fecal matter upon the grounds.

That dog I have no quarrel with. The dog itself doesn’t know about the contributions Clark made to our Commonwealth, nor of the numerous people who walk these grounds enjoying the breeze or of the people who may walk by and step in its poo left behind.

However, the person walking said dog should know such things. If she doesn’t, then hopefully she reads The Winchester Sun and this column.

I have always walked the fence between patriotic idealism and the realism of what surrounds me.

I typically find myself on the patriotic side the older I get.

There are things we should simply just do. As a species of animal, I believe we are currently devolving rather than evolving partly because of our lack of recognition for history.

“Those that don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.”

Yes, it is a well-used quote and for good reason.

I believe we should pause for the Pledge of Allegiance, take care of the natural grounds that surround us, not throw our trash (including cigarette butts) out the car window and keep our waters clean.

There is a reason men and women of our community and our country came to this world (and this area in particular) to settle.

It is rich with history, resources and nature.

To allow a dog to defecate upon the grounds and under the flags, of such important local history says something about her and us.

We are better than this, and I hope you agree with me.

Don’t just read these words and do nothing with them.

If you disagree, then please email me and let me know.

If you agree, then do your part to encourage those under your influence. Encourage them to leave this place better for those who walk behind us now, and three generations from now.

I hope to see you on or off the trail doing the same.

Craig Caudill is a lifelong resident of Winchester and serves as director of Nature Reliance School. He is the author of “Extreme Wilderness Survival,” “Ultimate Wilderness Gear” and “Essential Wilderness Navigation.” Contact Craig at or through any of the various social media platforms available.