Depth of Tread: Who will readers nominate from within the riding community?

Next month, and for every month thereafter, THUNDER PRESS will be introducing our readers to a rider who inspires others. We’re looking to our readership to shine a light on someone engaged in something positive, living life fully and serving a purpose only they have the right to define.

It can be anyone; a butcher, enlisted or retired military, an educator, student, a letter carrier, a homemaker or volunteer, a caregiver, a felon who has turned things around or someone working at the parts counter. The common thread in each of those who’ll be featured is that they ride.

What they are devoted to might be their work, or work might provide the funds to do what keeps the fire in their belly kindled. They see, then address, a need, care for someone or something, and navigate as best they’re able. And their focus doesn’t have to be associated with motorcycling, though it can be. It’s their drive that we so admire.

After our first installment in May, in the months that follow, it will be our readers who nominate someone they find impressive, someone who by example inspires others to do more, to make a mark themselves.

Whether it’s someone quietly doing their thing, forging a path only they’d consider, or someone whose enthusiasm is contagious, it will be hard to read these installments without feeling uplifted. And we can all use some of that, right?

We’re calling this new feature Depth of Tread, because when the weight of intention is behind a person’s stride, they leave more of an impression. Who do you know that we might celebrate? Share your nominee with me (Susan) by email at the address at bottom and tell us a thing or two about your pick. Include contact information for follow-up with both the nominee and yourself. Any rider can forward a nominee. And there’s no need to be intimidated to participate. Every walk of life will be represented.

Below is a real-world example; someone who’ll remain nameless offered to suggest that those readers nominate can be living a pretty humble life but still embody the spirit we’d be proud to feature.

Example: A humble man

Dirt bikes ridden in the woods and quiet roads of a small town in Western Washington State were childhood stomping grounds for this 64-year-old forester. In reflection he might say too many years were spent on foolishness, surely on skirt chasing, but he’s never regretted time spent in the woods. Now he does what he loves, quietly stewarding a square mile of rural forestland for as long as his aging frame can endure. To those passing by his spread, seeing the white-haired forester wearing a long-ago-new hickory logger’s shirt and leather apron as he stands at his sawmill making lumber, he appears one hardworking cuss. But when a stranger ventures down the long driveway to ask if they might buy lumber, or to have a closer look at the sawmill and see the fellow who operates it, they find in him something real, down to earth, a man of both character and purpose. He dusts himself off and reaches out a hand.

Never having fathered children, the forest he stewards is his legacy. He selectively logs with chainsaw, an articulating tractor, a double winch, eye protection and a hard hat, felling trees himself then removing them from the forest on a forwarding trailer. He leaves the forest in better health for time spent there, seeding logging-disturbed areas in the late fall with a grass wildlife mix for elk and deer. If wild turkey fail to find the snack first, the seed will be covered by snow and in spring will incubate under that bright insulating cover. He places logs across a small stream, slightly backing up the water, creating shallow pools where animals can quench their thirst safely, avoiding a county road and vehicle traffic.

He has an Indian Chief that needs work, and a farm-friendly Honda Trail 90 that a mischievous black bear took to, duct tape repairing seat damage for the time being. In winter the forester is out snowshoeing or cross-country skiing by dawn, making note of the trees he’ll later harvest, or that he’ll keep an eye on to see if they’re overtaken by bark beetle infestation.

He intends to put the land in conservancy beyond his life. Until then, caring for the forest is a year-round occupation, the most important work of his life.

As Robert Frost said in his poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.

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