I mentioned in a previous post my long ago vow that once I graduated EKU and got a “real job” that I would never commute long distances by car again. And I might have mentioned that the forties are my Decade of Humility. I consciously broke that Vow to take the job I have now. Repeat the mantra with me:
I guess I feel as long as I’m making a difference or have the immediate future potential to make a difference that it’s okay to have broken that solemn promise I made to myself. It’s hard to keep living with an arrangement that I know is ultimately not sustainable or a good example of what I want to see in the world around me. But I stick with it—happily—because I know that I am in a place where I can affect other future people’s ability to make better choices.
It’s possible that the cognitive dissonance that results from violating my Solemn Vow has caused some of my stress and depression in the past three years. Regardless of my altruistic sacrifice the whole car commuting affair just doesn’t jive with me. I burn a &@#%ton of fossil fuels. I pollute the $#!+ out of the atmosphere.
What seems to be key is that along with the doublethink there is also a strong desire to resolve the disharmony and find balance. Bike commuting is complicated in the Bluegrass Region. There are almost no good commuting roads into Lexington from any other surrounding community. The other day I told my wife that if we relocated we should look at Georgetown because there is now funding to extend the Legacy Trail (which currently pierces the heart of downtown Lex Vegas) to the Scott County line. The Legacy will span the Death Zone ring of sport horse farms around the City.
It’s the horse farm culture that has prevented the Lexington-Big Sandy Rail Trail from escaping Lexington (it currently exists in the form of the Brighton Rail Trail). “Over our dead bodies” was the response to inquiries of the farm owners in eastern Fayette/Clark Counties regarding a potential trail connecting Lex and Winchester.
A Lexington-Winchester trail connection would make bike commuting possible for me. It wouldn’t be feasible due to the sheer distance (45 miles) but on the few occasions that I would have the time and energy to make the commute a Lexington—Big Sandy Trail would provide a cycling option where currently there are few that make any kind of sense.
Said trail would be a huge benefit to both Lexington and Winchester/Clark County. Clark Countians would be able to bike commute to Lexington as well as recreate on the trail through the beautiful Bluegrass region and Lexington would benefit with potentially reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality, and access to another fine linear park.
Ideally I would just rescind the Solemn Vow and make a new one. But what promise would I make to myself and the universe at this juncture in my life? The easy way out would be to pledge to change my commuting arrangement as soon as is humanly possible. I don’t know if that’s really even a rational assertion to make.
The best proclamation I think I can make now is that I will do everything I can to bring light to the factors that have created the situation I find myself in, and to work diligently wherever I find myself to improve conditions and find solutions to transportation problems in my home state.