I was born in the middle of World War II, when most people were one generation or less from farming or logging and tall American Elm trees formed a canopy over the main streets of most towns. The freedom to roam that I enjoyed as a child is quite rare now; I was seldom in the house when I could be out, winter or summer, for hours on end.
Those years gave me a love of nature and a sense of wonder about its complexities that I have never lost. Though I lived near New York City for 23 years and learned to appreciate its amenities, I never felt at home there. I returned to Maine to work at Colby College, then moved to Smith College and settled in Greenfield.
I was attracted to this area because of the land, the way fields and woods give way to small towns, many that recall the villages of my childhood. It is a beautiful valley, and, gardener that I am, I cringe every time I see another block of rich, ancient soil covered over forever.
I am a firm believer in supporting local organizations, and I sought out the Franklin Land Trust not long after I bought my house. I do not own acreage, so access to open spaces is even more important to me. I want to know that knowledgeable professionals are working to help preserve the unique character of the countryside before it is forever altered without thought for the value it holds simply by its existence.
Each time I visit the farmers market or a local orchard or make the beautiful drive into The Patten to buy grass-fed beef, I am grateful for the hard-working people who love the land, and for the Franklin Land Trust’s efforts to conserve the fields, forests, and waterways that sustain us all.
The elm trees are lost to younger generations, but I would want every child to know the feeling of open spaces and the beauty of the natural world.
– Carole Fuller