Monday, May 28, 2018

This is why we can't have nice things

It was a magical place, known only to locals and park employees.  There wasn't a real trail to it.  Whenever we hiked to it, my friends and coworkers Beth, Laurie, Jim and Mark, we would look around to make sure no tourists were passing by on the main trail.  Then we'd duck into the woods and make the short climb.

It was called Poet's Table.  About 50 years ago, a man calling himself the Vagabond Poet carried a table and chairs up there and nestled them in a serene spot among granite cliffs and ledges.  Ever since then, people have hiked up there and filled journals and notebooks with poems, essays and thoughts.

I don't remember what I wrote there, but I have a picture of myself sitting at the table writing away.  I spent two summers working at Custer State Park, when I was 20 and 21, and Poet's Table was one of my favorite places.  After my friend Ron was killed in a motorcycle accident, I hiked up there, my heart hurting.  A butterfly landed on my shoulder as I walked, and stayed there as I reached the table.  I like to think it was him.

My friends loved the place, too.  They would sprawl on the rocks, looking for mountain goats.  A free spirited couple got married up there.  It was one of those places I thought would never change.

This past Saturday, two women hiked up to the table and sawed it in half.  Then they carried the pieces down the trail and put them in their truck.  Another hiker saw them and took a picture.  When asked why they did it, the women said that nobody was taking care of the place, and it would be better now.
The perps
Apparently the suspects have turned themselves in and will probably be charged with something like vandalism.  The park has retrieved the pieces of the table (and it sounds like they stole the chairs too) and plans to put them back.

It won't be the same.  Since it's national news, more people know about Poet's Table now and will try to find it.  Maybe more vandals will be among them.  Some commenters on a Facebook post about it scoffed, "It's just a table."  It wasn't just a table to me and to my coworkers.

I have lost a little more faith in humanity.  Why do people do these things?

12 comments:

  1. That's bizarre! Such a sense of entitlement to do just whatever "they" decide is okay. I'm glad you have your photo and your memories of special times there.

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    1. Yes really strange, and in the middle of the day too.

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  2. What an odd odd thing for someone to do....and to ruin such a serene private retreat!!! Without any provocation or permission. Kinda makes my blood boil!!!

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    1. And in a state park too. I don't understand!

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  3. OMG, that is infuriating! While I am glad they were caught, the question remains...WHY?? I'm sorry that your lovely hidden place has been forever changed.

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    1. For some reason the sheriff's department isn't identifying them so I don't know if we will ever know why. Their reason seems bizarre.

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    2. With their pictures being circulated, I wonder if social media will out them...and shame them, as they should be. Sorry, but that kind of action deserves shaming - I'll even ring the bell! (GoT reference, if you don't watch)

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    3. I don't watch that but I get it! I got this picture off Facebook from a hiker who saw them, so it's been circulating. Sooner or later someone will out them!

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  4. I heard about this from my family that live in SD. My sister was just there a couple of weeks ago. I don't understand why people destroy special places like this. (Reminds me of the kid that started the huge Eagle Creek fire in the Gorge last fall) Hope they throw the book at those two girls.

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    1. I don't know either, like the people who deface pictographs and carve their names in trees. Why can't they leave it for others to enjoy?

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  5. We loved Poet's Table when we were taken there many years ago by a special person. It is such a despairing feeling....WHAT is wrong with people. Will take a while to feel glad to have seen it rather than rage and despair at people who could do a thing like this with no sense of wrongness. Like the Boy Scout leader and scouts who filmed themselves kicking over formations in Goblin State Park just after we were there.

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    1. I don't understand people who do these things.

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