Willow looks over the world from an upstairs attic window. “What are we doing inside, Mom?” she whines with soft little moans. “The sun is shining. Let’s go.” Willow is my walking buddy now that I’m on my own.
Bare-boned basswood trees reach for blue sky. My husband’s ashes are buried by a tall red oak near this basswood clump.
Stream water dances across the shale: water, earth, and light.
My son and his friends built shale walls, tables, and a fire pit almost twenty years ago. It’s my personal place for fires and rituals. An ancient pine stands guard. There are many species of trees in this part of my woods–shag and smooth bark hickory, red, white, and pin oak, ash trees that fight for life against a borer, white and red pines, hard and soft maples, and a few young chestnuts that won’t make it to adulthood because of blight.
The woods is under environmental stress with the loss of many species in recent years. Fracking was a constant concern until it was made illegal in New York State. My friend and helper Matt Hoff and my conservation forester Mike DeMunn help me follow healthy forest practices to keep the forest strong, but environmental challenges are everywhere with new diseases, imported insects, and climate change
Vic and I bought this land in 1973 and signed a conservation easement with the Finger Lakes Land Trust in 2005. We hoped to protect the beauty and health of this place. Since Vic’s death, I’ve relied on the fields, forests, and long views for healing.
I love the beauty of my land, the purity of the air, and clean water just as you love the place you call home. I hope we can protect what can’t be replaced.