Bear Creek Preserve

Brian Dugas from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wyoming Valley was a fantastic conversation partner on this morning hike for the first several miles of a 9 mile hike. Bear Creek Preserve is run by the Natural Lands Trust and is located in Luzerne County. The preserve has very clearly marked trails that are used by porcupines (see video below if it works), deer, and other critters too. Kitmir (my dog) and I heard something in the thick mountain laurel understory but could not pinpoint who it was - while it could have been a squirrel, it did not have the characteristic scurrying sound nor the sound of a deer bounding away...what could she or he have been? We are never alone. Since the leaves have not fully emerged we were blessed also to watch a usually evasive Pileated Woodpecker at work and then fly magnificently away.

The preserve is a good example of second (or third, fourth??) growth forest making the long way back to what one day will be old growth - inshallah (God willing). Walking through here made me think again of the skill to read the landscape and her story. While she is spirited (especially in the spring!), vibrant, and irrepressible in her growth, her scars are perceptible and the reach of climate change touches her. Each place I visit is a reminder of abuse and loss, and resilience and hope. *deep breath* There is a verse in the Qur'an that comes to my heart, "Corruption has appeared on land and sea by what people’s own hands have wrought, that Allah may let them taste some consequences of their deeds, so that they may turn back" (Qur’an 30: 41). In order to change our ways, i.e., " that they may turn back," we need to know how to read the landscape's story, understand her natural history, and love her back into health.


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