The snow rests so softly on the land. I want to relax, and rest content like snow perched on a stone.
In the other world, up Shoccoree Drive in Durham, NC, there is another 100 acres, similarly perched high in the headwaters of my beloved Ellerbe Creek, with similar riches of plant life rooted in geologic drama, where the Carolina slate belt drops down into the Triassic Basin. That land, which helped inspire my founding of a watershed association in pre-Princeton days, has like Herrontown Woods always felt timeless to me, unique in its splendor, resistant to the bulldozer as heartwood is resistant to rot.
But without the vision and generosity of a Veblen, nor the collective generosity of an open space tax to pay the owner's price, even timeless land can one day find its time is up. Hills and valleys resonant with beauty and history erased beneath a cookie cutter development. It hasn't happened yet. There's still a scintilla of hope, as neighbors organize in opposition. Might I have done more to save that land, 444 miles away, somehow found a wealthy donor to spare it? Can something still be done? That is the background anguish that now intrudes on the pleasure of a walk through snowbound Herrontown.