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Remember: 2010: A vision in Trexler Park

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: A vision in Trexler Park

There is no El Capitan to be found in the park system in Allentown Pennsylvania. There is no Niagara Falls. While our parks are beautiful in their own right, the seeming grandeur of majesty that is inherent in our National Parks is absent from ours. That may however turn out to not be the case at all.

What is it that gives the so called “majestic” elements to our most grand spectacles of preserved nature? Is it the bare rock face of a rounded mountain looming large over a valley? Is it the mile deep geologic history bared in river eroded canyon walls in a desert? Certainly these things can attribute an absolute majesty to these places but is there something else? Is there a greater wonder, a subtle wonder that truly defines what is majestic in the realm of nature?

Yes, there absolutely is and it is apparent in any place that nature is allowed to grow into herself and demonstrate the power of biological diversity and the inter-connectivity of ecosystems. Sure, the flowing lava in Hawaii is awe inducing on sight alone but the geologic processes at work at such a sight are what truly make the thing a wonder.

There are no flows of lava in Trexler Park. There are no high mountains. Now, in winter, with the idleness of a mere “passing by” it would seem that there is nothing much there at all save the barren face of winter stretched across the sleeping vegetation in brown and red hues.

Therein the exact majesty of Yosemite National Park is easily accessed right here in Allentown. Perhaps, due to the severely less “grand” scale of Trexler Park, this majesty may go unnoticed. Perhaps, we are simply used to Trexler Park and we have not allowed our eyes to see what is so blatantly obvious and strangely, on occasion, ignored.

Giving the eye the chance to truly see the majesty of interconnectivity takes patience. The mind needs to pause, in the space of the observational moment and reflect. At nearly every footstep, a vital plot point of the story of life is written. Every blade of frozen grass, every dead leaf, every defiant red berry serve as the everlasting examples of what is truly awesome, even here at Trexler Park all of it is splayed across a small canvas that we have allowed to be preserved as example.

It is in this realization of sight and spirit that we, the eager and thirsty visitors of our city parks have the obligation to demonstrate our commitment to the preservation of such areas of epiphany in order to set the example for our neighboring cities, counties and municipalities. This moment I have described is one of defining purpose, and in raising the bar high enough to be forever certain that such awakenings continue to occur, we do our best to literally affect change at the highest level.

If we, as Pennsylvania’s Park Place, set the standard - we will lead the way for our entire state in the proper maintenance and preservation of our sacred open lands. It is my hope, that in turn, our neighbors will follow suit and eventually turn the tide of cultural ignorance back to the green leaves and cold streams that define who we are as a species. They do so because like grass, like trout, like the smallest single cell organism floating in water, we to are forever entwined and inexorably connected to our ecosystem.

That, readers, is the majesty of Trexler Park. It is the majesty of all of our open spaces and it is certainly the same majesty of Yellowstone, Yosemite or Acadia National Park. Walking among the sleeping vegetation on this particular morning I bore witness to the continued moment that is at all times present in our parks. I was left as just another interconnected functional organism in an ecosystem. The difference between the cat tails and I however, is the fact that I am glaringly aware of my place in the order of things and I know what my role is.

It is to assure that this balance continues indefinitely. It is to take the example of Trexler Park to heart and take care of all our parks, our waterways, and our open spaces. Without them, we will be left purposeless. Here, in Allentown Pennsylvania we can begin to demonstrate the thinking that should be shared by all Americans, by all people. We are not alone. We have the responsibility to care for what we directly affect and pollute. We can stop the damage committed daily and we can repair the wrongs we have done.

The Little Lehigh Creek needs as much protection as possible. Trout Creek Parkway needs the Japanese Knotweed removed. Jordan Park needs its stream banks renewed. The list goes on and on. The point though is that one thing changed for the better will undoubtedly lead to more. It is time to see that change begin to happen. 2010 should be the year when we define our example.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Beautiful. If we care for our streams and our parks we care for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and their children's children. If we protect the streams and parks that God has given to us to care for, we save ourselves. I pray the mayor and county executive and other civic and political leaders visit your site and hear your message this new year. God bless you.

January 4, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

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