A farmer friend of ours explained why many of the farms end up as housing developments or strip malls: the farmers here spend a lifetime just getting by, and when retirement age comes, they have the choice of either living on not enough money or selling their land to developers and not worrying about who's going to take care of their financial needs (chief among them being health care). Faced with those options, I'm not sure I would be able to do things any differently than those who sell.
But a couple of families near here were lucky enough (I have no idea how) to be able to donate the land to the Preservation Parks system. And boy am I grateful!
Lately, I have decided that it's more accurate to say that the land is preserving me. We walk out on these trails--most of them easy enough for kids, but if you walk two or three you can usually go for a couple miles--and I am so thankful for the access to woods, and creeks, and fields. I think there's something in me that needs to be with the trees and grass. I'd rather not camp, no (especially at this time of year!). But I need to go walking out there.
The most recent park to open in our system is called Deer Haven; we went for a walk there during Thanksgiving break and I took some photos...
(Even the sidewalk between the parking lot and the nature center has leaf shapes pressed into it... cool!)
(We kept having weird warm spells in November, but it had finally gotten cold over Thanksgiving--cold enough for us to spot the first ice of the season, a delicate edging around a puddle or two...)
(late fall palette... and an accidental self-portrait... I can't even explain how beautiful these colors are...)
I LOVE this place! I am hoping for a walk again at Deer Haven soon--when it's not quite so cold out as it is today. After a rough end to the semester, the busy-busy of Christmas, and some other unnameable stresses, I feel the need for some preservation.
I hope you find a place near you that soothes your soul!