More Than A River

The sun is just coming up and the fog is barely discernible in the river valley below me. I'm waiting for the first turkey to fly down from his roost, hopefully gobbling back at my call. I've been practising for the last month on perfecting my mouth diaphragm call. I'm getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. However, the gobblers this morning will either confirm or dispute that claim.

Turkey hunting is a hobby that I have just discovered now, in my 56 years of age. However I have been hunting and fishing in these mountain streams and rivers since I was old enough to walk alongside my father whilst donning my BB gun or my fishing rod. He instilled in me the wonderful pleasure of hunting and fishing while growing up on our farm on top of Peggy Runway, overlooking the Delaware River.

It is with deep gratitude that I have come to know and understand the wonderful balance of nature and its needs through each of the four seasons. Spring is a time of planting and birth for most creatures, plants, and insects. Summer is the time for growth and abundance for every living thing as they flourish. Fall is the time for harvest and preparation for the upcoming winter. It is also the time when nature allows only the strongest and most capable to pass their dominant genes on, keeping nature in a delicate balance. Winter is a time of peace for plants and insects. However, for animals that don’t hibernate, winter is a time for survival and strength as they work to live through it.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been born and raised in these mountains and the accompanying river valley. You come to know and appreciate the beauty of this area as you work, live, and raise families here and how the change of seasons presents the same abundances and challenges as it does for all of nature. When I lived on the farm, the reality of the change in seasons was much more prevalent. We orchestrated our lives around the necessities that each season required for our animals and crops to thrive and therefore produce enough milk, wool, meat, corn, and other products which in turn, generate enough revenue to hopefully remain profitable and keep the farm and family sustainable. This was always a challenge because you never knew what Mother Nature had in store. I remember walking through the cornfields with my dad as he was inspecting the corn which was very tall with big ears full of corn. He was very happy and expected a great harvest in the fall. Not long after, we had a severe storm which caused more than half of the cornstalks to lie as a mangled mass on the ground. He was devastated and he had to buy corn all the way from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to keep his cows fed for the winter. This is the reality of life on the farm, and a great example of how dependent we are on Mother Nature.

I was eight years old when we moved off the farm, however, no matter what occupation one possesses, we all interact with, depend upon, and embrace the four seasons and Mother Nature in the river valley. It is because of all the hardworking families and responsible businesses working with our government that we have maintained a harmonious balance with our natural resources and all of nature’s creatures in the river valley. As landowners, we appreciate and know what is and is not in the best interest of this land, lifestyle, and culture in the river valley. This is true not just for yesterday and today, but most importantly, tomorrow.

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