John Muir US (Scottish-born) conservationist & naturalist (1838 - 1914)
Joyce Valenza writes of spending time in the Poconos "to get away, to think, to write, to plan, to veg." She then proceeds to list all of her interactions via the internet. Joyce is a gifted Teacher/Librarian, author and lecturer, and it would be a real loss if her "voice" were silenced for an extended period of time. However, I am no Joyce Valenza, and time away from the siren song of my trusty Mac is not only pleasant but necessary.
Yesterday I visited a small local park, Hovey Pond, to spend a few hours in the sun, enjoying a bit of natural beauty. The only twittering was from the birds, with counterpoint provided by the twanging of the green frogs. There was one family picnicking near the play area, a couple sharing an impromptu lunch al fresco, a few strollers in the botanical garden. No cellphones, no laptops; only the soft whir of my digital camera marked the occasional intrusion of technology.
A young bicyclist lazily dropped twigs from a footbridge into the quiet stream below. I wondered if his parents had ever read Winnie-the-Pooh to him as a child, if he knew the game of poohsticks. Perhaps all he cared about was the freedom of early July and the joy of a sunny day after a week of rain.
A particular delight at Hovey Pond is the 5-acre Wetland Restoration Project.
A 200' long wooden walkway allows visitors to closely observe the marsh aquatic life. A red-winged blackbird kept a sharp eye on my progress from the safety of a cattail perch. I avoided the dilemma of a road not taken by wandering down both forks of the walkway; my diligence was rewarded by exquisite views of a lily-lined pond worthy of Monet.
Halfway Brook ,which feeds Hovey Pond, was the site of ambushes, skirmishes, and massacres during the French and Indian War. There are no restless spirits here, just "Nature's peace".
I must confess that I took a few notes on a crumpled bit of paper, reminders to perhaps steer some of my students towards local projects like this one that might personalize global environmental concerns. As Barry, Carolyn, Doug, Clay, Sylvia, Scott, and so many others have pointed out, the Big Picture is more like a mosaic, with each person or group contributing a piece of the whole.
But lesson plans and RSS feeds are for later. Now belongs to sunlight and flowers, birdsong and frog chorus: a day in the park.