A Walk to Remember
A walk through Leita Thompson Memorial Park is nothing less than a woodland journey through primordial Georgia: filled with a variety of plants, animals, and bloodsucking insects. The paths, covered in a dreary gray gravel, fill you with that wonderful sense of disconnect that humans have with nature. That somehow, if the paths were allowed to be only just cleared of limbs and major debris, rather than sterilized with miniaturized unicolor rubble, we middle class Americans would just fall apart at such close contact with a natural earth ecosystem. This idea is furthered by the fact that the park is within hearing distance of Highway 92. It is a truly beautiful construction of modern day society to never be able to fully escape the wonders of rush hour traffic.
As you make your way through this fantastic park you’ll find yourself passing all sorts of interesting locals. There are the male runners in their mid thirties still trying to hold onto their high school physique, the middle-aged mothers who walk in a line perpendicular to the trail making it difficult to pass around them, and there are the dreaded youth of eighteen and nineteen year olds whose immortality and unabashed attractiveness they hold high as they scare the living daylights out of you by shouting “ON YOUR LEFT!” behind you just as you begin to think you like spending time out in nature. The staggering amount of dog breeds you’ll encounter will shock you silly: they have the big ones who haven’t been trained to not jump on strangers, the small ones that bark like Tony Montana when he has to defend his cocaine empire, and the medium sized ones that you want to play with so bad but the owner pulls them away from you like a lightning strike shuddering out a stress-fueled sorry out of the corner of their mouths.
The three or so mile trek through this jungle is a pleasant one. When I went it was overcast, but the temperature was cool and comfortable. I would definitely suggest avoiding the park during hot days in mid June, actually I would suggest avoiding Georgia during hot days in mid June, heck I would suggest avoiding the southeast during hot days in mid June (maybe we should all just avoid hot days in mid June). Near the middle of your walk you get to encounter the wonderful lake found at the center of the park. Here you get to see an increasingly rarefied hobby, the casual American fisherman. These fascinating individuals see it fit to stab the Lumbricina of the Annelida Phylum, an earthworm that is, to small hooks tied to strings. Then using a lone pole, referred to as a “fishing rod”, they then cast this earthworm into the muddy waters. Doing the earthworm no good at all, seeing as its just had its insides hemorrhaged and is now, likely, drowning as well. Then, after all this ordeal, the fisherman sits with the rod in their hands hoping that a fish will see the earthworm and thinking its a good meal, try to eat it and get the hook caught in their mouth. Then, with the hook jutting out of the fish’s unsmiling cheek, the fisherman will use a mechanism on the side of the rod, “reel in” the unlucky fish. All of this does no particular good for the fish, as now he is in a similar predicament that the earthworm was in, and is stuck with a hook through themselves in a place they find rather difficult to breath in. What was the point of all this you say? Well, my notes say that the fisherman tossed the fish back into the lake and started the whole process over again, albeit now with a small smile of contempt and pleasure. I think we can deduce that this fish and earthworm must be part of a larger organization that once dealt these fisherman great harm, so the fisherman make sport of torturing them to get a sweet taste of that succulent feeling we call “revenge.”
I have few complaints about my experience at Leita Thompson: the park is to say the least, pleasant. The trees leaves are at their deepest greens, the streams and lake water is fairly pure and clear. The parking lot of twelve spots was effectively filled to eleven at my arrival, in which two other cars looked on in disappointment as I backed my car slowly and carefully into a spot. The part of the walk that is uncomfortably close to the backyards of several suburban homes was particularly enjoyable, the height of the trails make you really feel like you are above the lowly peasants stuck in doors just a few hundred feet from you.
In conclusion, I would recommend if you live in the area, and the weather permits it, to try a walk at Leita Thompson. If you or your families were ever damaged by an interaction with an earthworm or a fish, I advise you to pick up fishing, the people I saw seemed to enjoy it.