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Site 8: The Lake Trail

Site 8 of the Long-term Ecological Reflections Project (LTERP) is a three-mile circumambulation of Lake Perez, also called the Lake Trail.

For the next 100 years, writers, artists, musicians, children, students, and community members are invited to reflect on this and the seven other locations designated as part of the LTERP. This collection of reflections will provide an interesting and unique record over the next century so that future generations can better learn the story of this place.

Please enjoy these excerpts from several contributors to the project, and follow the links to read their full Creek Journals.

David Taylor (2013)

I’m walking the three mile hike around the lake,
over mowed lawn,
across the rain-slick wood walkways and bridges spanning Shaver’s Creek,
around the dam construction,
up and down the trail passing hickory, sumac, oak, pine, hemlock,
listing as I go.

What is this that must be done?
Stretching out one leg then the other,
counting shrubs and trees,
noting the silver spotted skippers by their spattered ore mark,
watching a wren and listening for its call, imitating perch and pitch,
letting the bumble bees whirl and hum around me as I hold a stem of clover,
marking a cloud shifting from one ridge to another with my hand.

It’s a calling to circumambulate,
a vocation to circle the mountain there,
to round the lake here,
to walk the trail over and over,
again,
again,
beginning to see your own footprints.

Read David’s full Creek Journal 

Ian Marshall, Author/LTERP Founder (2006)

I thought of time and metaphor, and circles and lines, on the walk around the lake today. Time as arrow — that is, linear time that leads us to see evolution as a progression leading up to us, at least in our teleological view. Or our own lives as progress leading up to us, now, at this point in the story of our lives. And onward to our dying day. But, of course, time moves cyclically as well — as in the seasons. And I suppose we could see our whole lives as cyclical — from earth we arose, to earth we return. Think of how often cyclical movements are repeated in the natural world — earth in its daily rounds, the moon around the earth, the earth around the sun, the sun one of many on a whirling galactic wheel, the hawk I saw on my walk spiraling over the ridge.

Read Ian’s full Creek Journal

Katie Myers (2007)

Walking around some secluded parts of the lake, it is possible to ignore the heavy recreation use of Stone Valley. A host of woody plants that enjoy wet feet surround these lake borders: black, alder, red osier dogwood, slippery elm, and cucumber tree. Deer scat was present right on the trail. I even saw what could have been fox scat. It was certainly a predator, because it had hair in it. A group of sparrows was moving around so fast in the bushes, hopping from one perch to another, that I could barely keep them straight. Maybe I frightened them.

At other parts of the lake, human influence is obvious. Mowed lawn borders the lake here as well as roads, a lodge, a boat house, cars, boats, picnic tables, cabins, a visitors’ center, power lines, and of course the dam. It is ironic how much people depend on fresh water for so many services, yet how polluted much of the world’s water has become. One would think that we would know better. However, despite the heavy use, the water of Lake Perez is relatively pristine. Caddis fly larvae survive in the adjacent wet area, which are indicators of good water quality.

Read Katie’s full Creek Journal

Scott Weidensaul, Author (2006)

At the boardwalk, we move quietly, stepping on the balls of our feet, trying to avoid echoing footfalls. A dozen mallards feed in the shallows, all of them in the drab plumage of eclipse, the drakes distinguishable from the hens only thanks to their slightly rustier breasts, and clear yellow-green beaks that lack the hens’ dark smudges. A single hooded Merganser floats against the far shore of the cove, similarly dull brown with the end of the breeding season; the crest lines folded against its nape, and I can’t see if it has a tinge of chestnut like a female, or is the unrelieved color of walnut like a male. Then the duck dives, and before it surfaces, our attention has wandered.

Read Scott’s full Creek Journal

Todd Davis (2008)

Spring Melt

Water remakes
what was made
before and reforms
itself in the bed
of its own making.

Its surface reflects
cherry blossoms,
moon’s ivory
cut and placed
at petal’s edge.

See the floating bridge:
how it always moves,
how we dip our fingers
in this very spot
yet touch the sea.

Read Todd’s full Creek Journal

For more information

For more information on the Long-term Ecological Reflections Project, or to learn how to contribute material, please email Doug Wentzel at djw105@psu.edu.