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I remember many years ago living in the Kittatinny Mountains for five summers working with a small group of children from the slums of New York City and New Jersey at a camp in the woods. The ground was rocky, the terrain uneven. We cooked over campfires, slept under mosquito nets, lashed together tables made of saplings and binder’s twine. We slept in round-tos, lean-tos, covered wagons, and tepees. We chopped wood for fire to keep warm at night and to cook food. The trees were plentiful and were slim. Mighty chestnut trees lay on the ground from a blight which killed the trees many years ago. The wood from the chestnut tree is quite beautiful and it’s smell is unforgettable. There were birch trees, sycamore trees, maples, ash, oak trees, cedars, and there were many blueberry bushes, rhododendrons, and plum trees. The floor of the forest was overgrown with giant, green ferns, pine needles, and granite rocks. You could not take a step without tripping over a rock. It rained a lot, and we learned to do every thing in the rain with a poncho on. We all had to work together as a team to survive.

I learned most of my knowledge of nature there. I learned the names of trees, flowers, bushes, and how to survive in the wild.  I had never left home before, on a bus heading for Port Authority in New York City. I had never lived in the wild. It was a grand and exciting adventure. I grew emotionally there and spiritually. The mountain was strong, tough. But I learned to respect it and love it. The following poem reminds me of what those days were like.


Found on G+ on 1-19-15. Rick Schwartz. Southern Alpes.

Found on G+ on 1-19-15.
Rick Schwartz. Southern Alps.

Who Knows A Mountain?

One who has gone

To worship its beauty

In the dawn;

One who has slept

On its breast at night;

One who has measured

His strength to its height;

One who has followed

Its longest trail,

And laughed in the  face

Of its fiercest gale;

One who has scaled its peaks,

And has trod

Its cloud-swept summits

Alone with God.