The Arboretum

Years ago I walked through the University of Kentucky Arboretum with confusion. The two miles of paved trails were a fine place to pass the time. The designation as an arboretum seemed misplaced against these rolling hills. There was one lightly wooded section of optional trails that seemed worthy of the tree-centric naming.

Twenty years later, the arboretum is living up to its name. A density of trees has overtaken the hills. A walk in the open air has been replaced with a stroll through the woods. The path reveals itself around each trunk instead of being ever present on the horizon.

Naming things up front is hard. Twenty years ago I thought the arboretum was a lie. I had no vision for where it was going and what it would become. Someone who cared for the land named it with a goal in mind. They believed in what it could be.

There will always be people who are unsatisfied with future facing names. They don’t want to assign a name until the gap between ambitions and achievement are completely closed.

Deciding on desire is difficult. Once identified—the desire is infused with potential. Will it become a broken promise to yourself? Will it always prove just out of reach? Will you arrive and realize it was arbitrary?

It will take twenty years to make sense.

Published: 2023-07-06

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