A Year in the Life of a Horseshoe Pit

A fifteen minute walk from my typical Seattle back yard leads me to a vastly different 5,000 square foot plot – a publicly held wasteland that I visit almost as often as I visit my own yard. It is virtually devoid of life. It is regularly treated, mowed, and graded to keep it sterile.

3-18-14It is the horseshoe pit in Lincoln Park.

For the past year I have visited the pit regularly, and I have taken pictures – 215 of them. I have become attached to that little piece of land. I love it for the life that perseveres there, and I love it for what it can, and should, be.

The horseshoe pit was created by the WPA in the mid 1930’s – pretty cool, back in the day.

8-21-14But times and recreational preferences have changed, and it has been decades since this horseshoe pit has been used. Today it is a muddy, mossy, decayed, and barren wasteland – surrounded by a healthy, maturing forest.  Unfortunately, it is used almost exclusively for beer/wine parties in the summer, at night.

11-30-14A tree falls across it, and I think of the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest…”

Nobody seems to notice or care.

7-15-15This abused and neglected piece of land should be allowed to rejoin the forest. The forest wants it back. Along its chain linked fence edges, you can see the evidence. The seedlings, native plants, and mature trees – are pushing into, under, across, and above the pit, reaching to rejoin each other across its sterile center.

11-17-15I hope and pray that the plants and animals living along its edges get it back.     This horseshoe pit matters to them, and it matters to all of us.

If you have the time, take a look at the 215 pictures of the horseshoe pit at Lincoln Park over the past year. Each picture is a day. Think about it.

Let me know if you’d like to do something about it! Thanks.

For a 215 image slideshow, click on the picture below. It takes about 10 minutes to go through 365 days at the horseshoe pit. Check your time when you start, because you’ll lose track of where you are. Trust me.


About Mark Ahlness

I am a retired teacher, with dreams of still making a difference.
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