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Local psychologist, author finds regeneration in the wilderness

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BETHANY, PA — “My journey would be through the seasons of the year... For 52 consecutive weeks I would go alone to the same spot, sit still, engage my senses and observe the flow of nature through the full four seasons.”

That’s how John Harvey, a retired clinical psychologist, begins his new book, “The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning,” from Shanti Arts Publishing. The book is based on Harvey’s interactions with nature and introspection as he ventured once a week, early each morning to the lake at Prompton State Park, trekked through the woods and sat on a peninsula that jutted into the water. There, he faced the daunting task of learning to be still.

Harvey’s commitment to immersing himself in nature once a week developed out of a desire to reconnect with the world. Growing up in Wisconsin, Harvey was always interested in the outdoors and conservation. His parents encouraged him to revere the natural world. “My father was an avid fisherman and hunter,” Harvey said. “He understood and respected the delicate balance of the environment.”

Harvey spent 35 years as a clinical psychologist, which was fulfilling, he said, but demanding. He felt separated from nature, which had once been so important to him. That’s what brought him to the woods once again. “A deep weariness, a kind of burnout pervaded my body and mind,” he writes in “The Stillness of the Living Forest.” “I needed regeneration.”

 Harvey will be discussing and signing his book at the Bethany Public Library December 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information about the talk, contact the library at 570/253-4349. Keep up with Harvey’s latest adventures at www.foreststillness.com.

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