Still, you don't have to go even as far as Valley Forge to find serenity in nature. Norristown has some of its own. As I mentioned last week, we have a river. The view of the Schuylkill from Riverfront Park is lovely. We're fortunate enough to have an undeveloped island in the river at that point, so all you see from the park are the woods on the opposite bank. I pray that Norristown is smart enough to never allow a developer to ruin that view. But, besides a great view, along the banks you can occasionally see graceful herons and other long-legged water birds, and on the river itself, 3 or 4 kinds of ducks and geese. On a hectic day, it can be a very calming place.
Our other parks are also decent natural places. Walk along Stony Creek between Sterigere Street and the Zoo. You'll see ducks and water birds there, too. You can hear the sound of the shallow water splashing past the rocks. In spring and early summer, you can hear bull frogs, too.
I worked at Valley Forge one summer, and I remember a tourist asking me about the trees. She'd never seen trees so tall (I think she was from one of the prairie states). We tend to take our trees for granted in this part of Pennsylvania, but take a look at the older trees around Norristown sometime. Some of them are as tall as 6-story buildings. There's a tall oak down the street from me that's bright green in spring, dark green in summer, and a gorgeous red-orange in fall. My favorite winter trees here are the sycamores, with their bright white limbs against a blue or stormy gray sky--they look like big skeletons.
In their passion to make sure that every space within our borders is developed, I worry that Council forgets that all human beings occasionally have the same need I had yesterday--to get away from the hubbub, to enjoy a pretty piece of nature, maybe to just sit under a shady tree for a half hour and relax. Wouldn't it be nice to have places like that in Norristown, instead of creating yet another reason for people to leave town?