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More Changes in Steele Creek: The Trees Have Shrunk
By Gray Little, Steele Creek Athletic Association

(April 28, 2005) When I go to the ball fields, I sometimes feel that I am in my own little world. No matter what is going on at home, at work or in the neighborhood, I have this private little place where I can slow down, talk with friends, watch a fun ball game or soccer match, work on a field and just relax for a few minutes.

For three or four weeks the clearing for the shopping center behind the ball fields has been rapidly progressing. The machines are loud enough to overwhelm a conversation on the lower soccer fields. I knew things were changing and that Target and the orange box home center (NOT "hardware") were on the way.

As of Tuesday it finally made an impact. Just like when you go to the airport after a nice cruise or resort vacation, reality hit me.

After "a couple" of years of looking and walking through the woods behind SCAA I had become accustomed to what was there; what the woods looked like during each season, the old roadway, the old bridge abutments, even the area where Ralph Nealy thought the old school might have been.

A nice long walk could take me along the creek back to highway 160 and then across the old fields to the old Pleasant Hills shelter and down the hill and back through the woods to SCAA.

But, as of Tuesday afternoon, I noticed something that was momentarily quite disturbing......

From the Senior League field the southwestern sky was much bigger. There was more light on the field.

Had someone turned on the field lights? Was my watch wrong? Was the world was spinning slower? Had I been squinting at that string to long while lining the field?

At that time I was there the sun should have been sitting on the trees, but it was still well above the trees. Further, I realized that the whole horizon from Walkers Creek to highway 49 was brighter.

I then realized what really has happened.........the trees have shrunk.

No, they really have not shrunk. But, the shopping center clearing has finally taken all of the woods that ran up the hill 200-300 yards beyond the creek. When they took down those trees, the top of the forest canopy across the whole southwestern horizon changed. It is noticeably shorter. Tonight, or next time you are at the fields, stand at the concession stand end of the Minor League field and take a look......

Gray Little currently is Chairman of the Board at the Steele Creek Athletic Association and has had a long, productive history with the association.

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