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Owed to the Peaceful Valley Farm

We've known each other more than 50 years.

When we met, you were mature and I was but a boy of seven.

Your birth long preceded that legal patchwork of land grants in the 1760s.

For you witnessed millennia of Native Americans, then the colonial revolution, and statehood twice.

All the while nurturing persimmons, raspberries, mushrooms, and walnuts for sharing.

You graciously energized the woods and fields for lumber, pulpwood, grain and pasture.

Along the creek at Julep Bend you harnessed the coolness from each summer night for the town's elite to use the next day, in an age before refrigeration (no less appreciated now by Angus and Dorset).

You clothed yourself variously in trees and grass, and snow and leaves and mud, as fit your seasons.

For scores of years, you lured portions of the rainbow down to earth as colorful surprise encounters with Pheasants, Orioles, Hummingbirds, Woodpeckers and Herons.

Your pond offered Bass, Blue Gill and fleeting views of the trailing halves of Painted Turtles, the other half drenched in freedom.

You brought me daily solace and income, a honeymoon retreat and encounters with far away balloon launchers, whose hopeful notes were attached.

You kept me active posting your perimeter, and warmed me twice, as I gathered the woody cellulose you intended to recycle on your forest floor.

As recompense for a half century of kindness and friendship to me, a great debt is owed.

Thus, I pledge to shun the lure of development, and pray our 2 sons will do the same.