Part of my childhood was defined by the farm next door. Mr. Roy and Mrs. Florence Garver were, as we used to joke, my adopted grandparents. They believed in old-fashioned values, the importance of community, and were passionate about only taking from the earth what you could put back. I was taught by them that the soil, land, and plants were gifts, and if we only rape the land and take without gently giving back and taking due care, there will soon be nothing left. Humans cannot simply benefit from the land, but need to have a relationship with it. We must love the land we live off of and give it thanks through action. The Garvers farmed well into their 90's, but eventually time and age caught up. Roy and Florence have both passed away within the last five years, and with them, so too their land. Six years ago the family began to sell off over 150 acres into smaller plots. Where as a child I once saw nothing but fields and woods, now are long skinny properties with cookie cutter houses. For reasons unknown, some of the new houses are already abandoned (housing mortgage crisis?) (photo 2), leaving the cookie-cuttered post-country looking even more wasted. Three of the Garver's children were ready to sell the remaining property, and the fourth, who still lived in the house, agreed. In June, a man came with cash in hand and they agreed to be out by the end of July. This meant cleaning up a farm that was in one family since 1949. I've been spending time at home for the last few weeks, and was able to revisit the farm.. to remember the smell of the old house, the shape of the fields, my favorite sitting rock, and the hidden grove near the pond, where I used to call my "secret place" (think secret garden) (see first photo below). It's been a week since the house was turned over, and already the bushes and trees are being torn up and the remaining 80 acres has been divided up into 5-10 acre lots. It breaks my heart. So it goes.
This has been an interesting time of transition.. After a year of dealing with solitude, these last few months have been a time of letting go of people, of wants, of the past. The only thing that is ever for sure is change. Time is circular. Like an overlapping spiral. You experience things and then think you move on, but sometimes you are just winding around to find them again when the time is right to understand them and truly move on.
What legacy shall we, as people, leave behind? Will our mark be one of love? Of shallow profit? Will we continue to be a disease to the land? A parasite? How long can that last?