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Community conversations: Bernard and Mary Handler, Damascus, PA

“It’s not inevitable unless we make it inevitable,” asserts Mary Handler, who, along with her husband Bernard, contends that gas drilling activities facing the region should not be viewed as unavoidable.

The Handlers live along the Delaware River and are passionate about protecting it. “I have so much respect for the people who took care of this place before us,” says Mary. “We’re just trying to do the same.”

In her efforts to preserve the place she loves, Mary wrote the following poem, which she presented for public record at a recent meeting of the Upper Delaware Council.

An Attempt to Save Our Home

Cause. choose when there is no choice.

breathe when there is no air. fight when there is no strength.

sing when there is no song. read when there are no books.

with just under four acres, taking care of our land

brings, breaks, takes, hurts, loves, connects, divides

DIVINE pleasures deepen senses, gratitude, responsibility

paid for the property? so what!

NOT OURS. NOR YOURS.

NO MATTER WHAT!

LAWS written, kept, broken, unreal

A LIE

all ways, always, everyday, no matter what

struck, awesome, reality

NATURE

to work, respect, protect honestly

property bought, pay taxes, belongs

only yours, only mine, only ours.

Each deer, groundhog, skunk, chipmunk, spider, bird, snake, bee, cat, dog, bear, mountain lion, mouse, vole

laughs to no one listening

no advantage to abuse any way, shape or form for ANY reason

Cause. choose when there is no choice.

breathe when there is no air. sing when there is no song.

read when there are no books. smile-just be-cause.

fight when there is no strength.

The River Reporter devotes this series to the people of the Upper Delaware region and their varied perspectives on the issue of gas and oil exploration. As diverse individuals comprising a larger community, what do we stand to gain—or lose? How might our landscape, and our quality of life, change? What are the critical issues to consider? What are the potential economic, environmental and social impacts? As we confront conflicting interests, how can we keep our sense of community intact? To share your perspective, contact Sandy Long at 845/252-7414 or email sandylong@riverreporter.com.

Contributed image
Bernard and Mary Handler rest along the Delaware River. (Click for larger version)