By Lawrence Harris, Walk with Me Leader
Hello, my name is Lawrence Harris, and my introduction to joining the TTF team, my position on it, why I was in the creek in the first place, and my personal life is quite the story.
Before joining the team it all began on a cool morning on February 1st, 2006, my birthday. Very early into my childhood, I realized how being crammed in the house and behind screens all day is far from good for our mind, body, and spirit.
Fast forward over a decade and a half of living in North Philadelphia, I began coming to the creek to relax and to be one with nature, realizing that beauty is always around us whether we realize it or not. We live in a huge modern city but right below Roosevelt Boulevard and further both to the south and north is a beautiful slice of nature, a silent hidden gem waiting to be uncovered by all of us. It needs no shining or polishing because the most beautiful things in this world, whether people, places, or even ideas need no changes or additions as they are nature at its finest.
Whether we look for that hidden treasure or not is up to us. On another special day, March 18th, I saw a sign that TTF was hiring Walk with Me Leaders. Not only was this a perfect opportunity to meet similar-minded people, but also to get a bit of spare cash to fund my other ideas such as publishing my book while I attend Girard Academic Music Program.
So I applied for the position and through applying myself, I became the youngest member of the entire organization, as well as one of the shortest, but I never felt like I was seen or treated as a seventeen-year-old among people double or even triple my age. Rather we are a team of people working together with a commitment to make our community more interconnected, provide resources to the community, and maintain the creek itself.
You’ve likely realized I’m far from your average teenager, so it only makes sense I have far from your average job. Although I wouldn’t call being a walk leader a job, to me it is simply being paid to do what I love, to spread positivity and encourage others to be themselves. As a big brother and friend to both others and myself, I already do it for free.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of days and nights writing in my journal attempting to find a word that is more accurate than saying this is my job but haven’t been able to find one. Certain things are best felt and experienced, as opposed to said. We may know how delicious a chocolate bar is, but you can’t describe it as well as if I were to feel the textures, smell the coca, and bite into one.
As a Walk with Me leader, I aim to allow people to experience a side of life and the city they otherwise may not have. Just like the smell, taste, and texture of chocolate, the wind, animals, and plants all through their shared individuality are unified into the larger picture of nature; and we too are part of that unit.
Being a part of this unit known as TTF has allowed me to see how all these seemingly separate parts interact with one another to achieve a larger goal. Each of us has our skills and tasks, and we flourish just like the trees and animals we have the pleasure of being surrounded by. As the trees and animals are allowed to flourish and share resources, we give resources back to the community.
Each day is something new and exciting. Maybe we’ll see a deer or a hawk, frogs, or no animals at all; you never know until it happens and that’s the beauty of life. That’s the beauty of being a part of TTF: with every step of the walk, I leave my mark on the minds and hearts of those I lead.
After each walk, I sit and journal about that day’s experience, a new page in the story of my life. I would love for you to sign up and be a part of it and for me to be a part of yours for as many hours, days, or even years as we join each other.
Join your neighbors every Friday or Saturday morning, or Sunday afternoon for a healthy and empowering stroll on the Tacony Creek Park trail.
On Fridays, we meet from 9am–10am at the East Tabor Road & East Olney Avenue gateway.
On Saturdays, we meet from 9:30am–10:30 am. Location alternates between Whitaker Ave & E Loudon St, and E Tabor Rd & E Olney Ave.
On Sundays, we meet from 5pm–6pm at I St & Ramona Ave.
All are welcome to join us for this free walking group.
The trail is a paved, fairly flat Circuit Trail; all ages and abilities are encouraged to join us. All programs follow Philadelphia Covid guidelines.
If you have any questions, email TCPwalkers@gmail.com or call 215.744.1853.