Thoughts from an armchair hiker

by John Scully, administrative volunteer

This article originally appeared in the fall 2017 issue of The Twig, our 24-page member newsletter. To read more from this issue, click here. To become a member and receive The Twig in the mail, become a member.

Hi. You probably don’t know me and I probably don’t know you, even though I may have stuffed, sealed, and stamped an envelope to you from Sycamore Land Trust. I’m sure we’ve never met on any of the many trails in the thousands of acres managed by Sycamore. As I told the people here when I started volunteering in early 2016, I’m an avid indoorsman. I’ve been helping out with office chores since then because I’d rather face the inside dangers of paper cuts, database error messages, and taping my thumb to a parcel, than the outside dangers of a scurrilous squirrel, a tenacious tick, or a chancy chipmunk with a chip on his shoulder, a sneer on his lip, and a cold dead look in his eyes that makes you wonder where he’s been and what he’s seen.

Wild animals and I have a healthy respect for each other. When a bird was caught in my garage once, I called 911 because I had seen Hitchcock’s documentary “The Birds.” I bathe in bug spray every afternoon to go get the mail. When I was a child with my family in a restaurant and the waiter told us that the special was steamed clams, I demanded to know what they were steamed about and if they were going to take it out on me.

So I’m very happy volunteering once a week in the office here at Cedar Crest; helping with mailings, updating the database, changing the clocks twice a year, whatever needs to be done. I even ventured outside the building once onto the driveway to help wrap tree seedlings for the Arbor Day give-away. It was touch and go for me, but the wonderful people here were very supportive and got me through it.

No, I prefer working in the basement where I can see 12 acres of beautiful woods but am protected from it by plate glass. I like the idea of nature, it’s just that I don’t like it on me.

But that’s not to say that I don’t value the idea of wild places and safe habitats for the flora and fauna there. I do. And it breaks my heart to see all the forests, wetlands, and pastures that are lost every day to development. So I appreciate very much what Sycamore Land Trust does to protect the wilderness we have left and even expand the boundaries of it. And I love volunteering here and working with all the dedicated people who could make more money in the private sector but believe in making the world a better place and spend many more than 40 hours a week to that end.

I hope you’ll support them too, in whatever way you can. And please get out and enjoy the marvelous trails and wilderness areas supported by Sycamore. I’ll be with you…in spirit.