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  1.  (9630.1)
    I walked down by the river today, to see what had become of my childhood, only to find the hidden paths covered by sculpted hills and landscaped trees, or swaths of pale gray cement, and winding metallic stairways.

    No sign of the loons. They're long-gone, gone when the construction started, fled like I did. Perhaps it was the only sensible thing to do. There are no tracks of rabbits in the snow, no tracks of deer, or raccoon or skunk. Only small birds and the occasional squirrel, and the tracks of people's pet dogs and their boots as they tromp along the clean, pristine walkways.

    It does not feel like home, not like the place I went in anger or sorrow, to hide from the world, even during winter storms so bad I could hardly feel my fingers through gloves.

    Gone. Gone are the twists of the river I knew, where loons nested and crawdads basked, ducks swam and the herons hunted. Replaced by tourist-friendly sculpted river rocks that never belonged here. Gone is the tree that was the childhood way of crossing the river (thankgod our parents never found THAT out), replaced by iron bridges painted rust-red.

    The cops now want people to use the pathways, instead of chasing people away. They say things will be better now. They say it will bring tourists and money, this pale pathway I wandered, as if covering everything with pavement and fake wilderness made from stones of cement made to look 'natural' are a replacement for what was. A fake wilderness.

    Very few will notice the difference.
    Very few will care.