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Remember: South Mountain Preserve: Let’s go Exploring

Saturday, April 3, 2010

South Mountain Preserve: Let’s go Exploring

“Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty.”
-John Muir

The faint greening of the shrubbery has been an awful tease.  For months, the scenery of winter has dominated every landscape in a monochromatic brown hue.  The contrast of which, against sky, snow and cloud is beautiful but the beauty has worn itself thin.

It is time for a change of season.  I am ready for the green explosion of leaves and bursts of blossoms.  Yesterday, as I walked into South Mountain Preserve for the first time, I knew nothing of what I was to find there.  I have delayed this visit for months, being rather afraid to take another series of photographs displaying bare tree after bare tree. 

As I entered the Preserve, the undergrowth displayed new green, but alas the trees still remain without leaf.  It is now spring however, and the surprise and suspense of a natural chance encounter is heightened in the newly warm air.  The first surprise was the discovery that the majority of orange blazed trail had become a stream.

Walking up the side of South Mountain, the second surprised waited in the mountain stream and on its banks. Here, you could count the various shades of green for an hour.  Thick vibrant moss grew all  over the rocks.  Tightly coiled fern fronds rose from the ground and prepared to unfurl, and a few mayapples began their reverse genuflection of life towards the sun.

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Higher up the mountainside, nearing the 800 foot mark, the streams were still present.

Here too, were boulders that would appear the long lost sisters of the rocks on Bake Oven Knob.  The Knob, on the Kittatinny Ridge marks the northern borders of our Valley, here on the preserve, you stand on the southern.  This part of South Mountain at 800 feet is literally half the height of Bake Oven Knob, nevertheless, the  Ridge is visible through the trees, over the human heart of Lehigh County.
Looking and walking towards the top of the ridge here with only the sound of rushing water to fill the silence, momentarily you can become lost in nature.  The turn of the seasons on the sides of the spring seem to be the very veins in which even we were once formed.  Sadly, walking back down the mountain, nearby houses with aluminum siding and plastic windows become visible.  A train muted the springs and turned the mountainside noisy.  Humanity shakes you from the spell of nature, and you can only hope that soon it will go past and leave you to be lost again.

I grunted in disgust, disappointed.  CJ and Abby, my companions on this journey, decided we should take a break.  Abby and I climbed on top of an ancient boulder and looked.  Again, momentarily, we were able to feel lost.
On my left arm I have a tatoo that is of great significance.  The text is missing from my arm, but in the original cell, it says:
”It’s a magical world, Hobbes ol’ buddy, Let’s go exploring.”
Atop the boulder, I rubbed my arm and thought of the tattoo on my skin. I turned my camera off, and put it away.  I walked on.  I went exploring. I wanted to be surprised, to be lost.



Blogger Ted said...

haha I have 1/3 of the complete tattoo. I have "let's go exploring" on my right forearm.

April 30, 2010 at 5:12 PM  

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