One of the first impressions I had upon moving here to the Southern Tier was the feeling of immersion in the surrounding countryside. Nature cups us in its hands here in the Chemung valley, making its 360 degree presence known.
Accompanying the tree-saturated terrain are the numerous species of animals coexisting in these foothills of Appalachia. Where I am from, common animals such as deer, woodchucks, skunks, etc. are seen frequently, but here, we enjoy the addition of fox, coyote, bear, porcupine, beaver, and my thrilling favorite, bald eagles. It makes a huge impression on a city girl such as myself, and brings the deep-woods world of nature that much closer.
Many populated areas may be big on city savvy, but the tradeoff is a lesser exposure and therefore less awareness of the natural world. Critter spotting becomes a sport. Here, most folks have enjoyed the privilege without realizing the treasure they claim – a front row seat into the natural world.
Next time you see a big piece of nature present itself to you, recognize it for what it truly is – a rare gift others would trip over themselves to enjoy in equal measure.
Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
Steele Memorial Library