Park Ranger Stevie Smith gives readers the lowdown on the Spotted Lantern Fly.
Photo: Spotted lanternflies are invasive insects that feed on the sap of a number of different plants important to the state’s economy, including grapevines and maples. By MTSOfan via flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Hello Friends, Ranger Stevie here.
I wanted to start this column off by asking you to slow down and take a breath. Oftentimes I feel that in this city we get caught up in the hustle and bustle, going from one place to another, from one thing to another, but sometimes I think we just need to stop, put down our phones, step away from all technology, and head outside—outside to Allegheny Commons Park.
This month I noticed myself getting extremely caught up in emails and social media for work. I felt as if my mind was going a million miles per hour. But as soon as I walked into Allegheny Commons, I took a deep breath and focused on the present moment and let go of everything else. Does the park ever do that for you? Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed and then you step into the park and you see the beautiful vibrant green ginkgo trees or the reflection of the city on Lake Elizabeth and you are brought back to the present time, immediately feeling better?
You are no longer focusing on the past nor figuring out the future; You are right here, right now, exactly where you are supposed to be. Allegheny Commons is a great place to find your center and to be present with yourself. Too often we are being pulled in all directions, our cup losing its liquid, we are now half full. But not to worry, my friends, Ranger Stevie knows exactly what you need! It is a stroll around Lake Elizabeth, a seat around the Patricia Rooney Memorial Fountain, a visit to the Farmers Market for some fresh vegetables, a friendly interaction with a squirrel, an ice ball from Gus, a blanket to sit on by the ginkgo trees as the trains pass.
Allegheny Commons is a continuous fountain, overflowing to help you fill your cup. Allegheny Commons is a giant hug always welcoming you in with wide arms! So today I ask you to step away from everything else and make sure to fill up your own cup.
If you’d like to share how Allegheny Commons Park impacts your life please send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t do so already, friends, please be sure to follow us on Instagram with the handle @pghparkrangers.
Stevie Smith is a City of Pittsburgh Park Ranger in the Northside’s Allegheny Commons Park.