By Scott A. Yeager for GANT News
The end of summer is always a bittersweet transition for both the residents and visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds. Life’s pace begins to calm like a warm wind through the Clarion River Valley.
The verdant growth beneath the forest canopy begins to fade and thin, making sure that there is ample room for the new colors soon to blanket and protect the roots of trees, ferns, bushes and flowers.
For many, the season to follow summer’s end is the one time of year that stirs within them an ancient yearning for celebrating life itself, quickening the hearts of both wildlife and people.
As one travels throughout our region, the sumacs and sugar maples are the first to prophesy the coming change. Sumacs begin to blaze in a vibrant, peachy orange hue that reminds us to relish every sunrise, while the sugar maples slip from green to a light-bearing, scarlet red, encouraging us to enjoy the warm evenings and comfortable fires shared with family and friends.
During this time of year, it pays to rise early each day. The warm waters of the West Branch of the Susquehanna, the Bennetts Branch of the Sinnemahoning, the Clarion and the ancient Allegheny – along with countless creeks, ponds, lakes and streams – create portals of a fashion.
What rises to greet you in the late summer mornings is beautiful, celestial and – for many of us – the closest scenery to heaven that can be witnessed here on Earth.
From an elevated vantage point, like Rockton Mountain, overlooking Clearfield or the midway point on the Great Shamokin Path, you are not only treated to the breaking of a new dawn, but you are also quick to contemplate the dance of angels.
Spend any time near our region’s waterways or forests, and you’ll come to appreciate the visual beauty of warm waters and the lingering remnants of cool night air.
Summer’s end is always a season when these angels return to us. Their return to our forests and mountains is a sign that a season of breathtaking splendor awaits us. Not all glory is gone from the natural world just because the human calendar proclaims it so.
The comedy inherent to the human experience is that we attempt to master and subjugate Nature. Who are we to be so bold, so proud? Spending time in the Pennsylvania Wilds teaches one that it is essential to live in accord with Nature.
Each season, each subtle change in the environment around you, holds a deep significance. When mere fog and mist take on an ethereal form on warm morning breezes in the last days of summer, there is a temptation to join the angels that you see before you in a dance that celebrates the end of one state of being and that welcomes the season of change.
Nothing is static in Nature, so why would we seek to be motionless in our own lives? Rise early, celebrate change – dance like the misty winds.