A blog focused on nature, science, environmental topics, and happenings at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC).

“A Love Letter to PEEC” By Carolyn Licht and Daniel White

Here is to another 50 years at PEEC…

We have actually only been hiking the trails at PEEC since 11/2000, when we bought our home just a 10-minute drive away. The vicinity of the trails was one of the main drawing points for us and we still hike them every time we take a break from the intensity of our professional lives as a Psychologist and Chiropractor in New York City, which is on most weekends from Spring thru the end of Fall and even on some occasions in the Winter months. Almost 22 years of hiking PEEC and, if you do the math, that is a heck of a lot of hikes.

For us, each time we start a hike, it is with the exuberance and anticipation of the very first time, but with the continuity of the years that give us the sense of kinship and connection to the trails and the people who work at PEEC that make it feel undeniably essential to our lives. What do we appreciate most? There is so much that it would be impossible to pinpoint just one thing but probably foremost is the healing that comes with being in nature – the antithesis of New York City. The moments of spaciousness and complete silence that gradually build into the orchestral sounds of birds, crickets, frogs, the wind in the leaves, and the rushing of water in the creeks and waterfalls. We relish sitting on the vista overlooking the Delaware River and the corn and soybean fields next to the McDade trail; watching the tumbling waters of the myriad waterfalls tucked in like hidden gems on all the trails; the shimmering smoothness of the ponds with their surfaces broken by a leaping frog or a turtle coming up on a log to capture some sun; getting caught by surprise in between a mama bear and her cub as we spot the little one climbing up a tree; and the quiet shadows and solitude of the Hemlock forests that are home to the little red efts and “hoppers” (frogs) that flourish in the undergrowth and come to the surface with the morning dew.

Albeit, we admit that we prefer the absence of people and often become quite territorial of “our” trails, but there are those moments too of human connection that brighten our moods and bring smiles to our hearts. There was the time we were walking on Tumbling Waters and seemingly out of nowhere, a little boy of maybe 2 years old came running up, wrapped his arms around my legs, looked up, and said, “I love you,” with his parents following close behind laughing. It reminded me that you can get exactly what you need when you need it most if you wish hard enough on the “magic” giant Hemlock trees! Then there was the joy of watching another little boy spot his very first bear and just knowing it was the moment in which nature became “cool” to him. And let me say, we are definitely not “cool” people in NYC but we sure feel “cool” in our well-worn hiking boots, traipsing along as the “Old Timers” who can tell you all about the trails if you need a little inside info on your journey.

The truly “cool” people, however, are the staff at PEEC, who have welcomed, guided, educated, conserved, and kept this wonderful place alive for all of its 50 years. Starting our mornings with the warm and effusive greetings of Janine Morley and George Johnson, watching Derek Scott lead a group on his “Edible & Medicinal Plant Walk”, and sharing Jeff Rosalsky’s infectious enthusiasm for all things great and small as he champions PEEC with every breath he takes in his role as Executive Director, make us feel like honorary members ourselves of the PEEC family.

And as part of this “family,” also remembering with fondness how Glenn Simpson, as an Environmental Educator at PEEC, would always appear on the trails with a rolling tide of joy and an eagerness to converse with wisdom on many esoteric subjects while also reassuring us that the forest could restore itself even after being hit with a devastating storm. It was these lessons shared that inspired the writing of a poem (see below) that has become a bit of a mantra for me as we sit on the vista and ponder how, deep down, what PEEC gives to us the most is a place to belong – a place to call home!

Here is to 50 more years and many more after that!  With much love – Carolyn Licht and Daniel White.

Where I'm From....*

 I am from nowhere or everywhere.

A seedling sprouting from the earth, pulled towards the sun,

not knowing what I will become.

I am life and death, the transitions from one thing to the next.

Beauty and darkness, fragility and strength,

the softness hidden beneath the steel.

I am me...

still searching for who I am;

not knowing where I am going or who I am meant to be.

I am me for all or none to see.

 *Licht, C.A. (2018, December 8). “Where I’m From…” The Beautiful Space – A Journal of Mind, Art, and Poetry. Retrieved from http://www.thebeautifulspace.co.uk/a-journal-of-mind-art-and-poetry.

 

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