This week, on the urging of my eldest, we hiked up to a lake where very rare lichens grow, and it was beautiful, precious, and privileged, but also a site where a momentary error could contribute to the destruction of a species. The writer in me wants naturally to share the experience for everyone to enjoy, and the scientist wants to record it and contact others who have studied the same, but in the interests of treading lightly, instead I deleted words and maps, barely even keeping memories, because sometimes it’s good to walk away and leave things intact, surviving.
We didn’t swim. We didn’t sit and picnic. We didn’t eat or drink. We didn’t trace our steps with photos of paths. We didn’t record the name. We just breathed in and out a few times, and left.
We walked away downstream, and it rained. Even our footsteps no longer exist.