Tag Archives: preservation

Mike Pugh – In Defense of a Meadow

Mike and Sian Pugh in the Meadow he’s defending – an echo of American Gothic?

Mike and Sian Pugh in the Meadow he’s defending – an echo of American Gothic?

Mike Pugh is from Kansas where, as a young man, he worked a fair amount of his time haying.

Despite his work in the fields, he didn’t consciously consider how he might be forming a partnership with nature that would stay with him.

This connection with the land became clear when he came to Western Loudoun County where many are struggling to preserve the land’s rural character.

Mike didn’t expect he’d become a combatant in a debate to preserve what he found. Continue reading

The living legend – farmer “Jimmy” Spring

The Movie – the Living Legend - “Jimmy” Spring

The Movie – the Living Legend – “Jimmy” Spring

Another example of why Western Loudoun is worth preserving and maintaining is the kind of farming folk that made this County.

Perhaps more people need to understand and consider what kind of people made Western Loudoun what it is, and why it must be preserved because what’s best about the West is a lot more than geography.

It’s about core values that sustain a community when the center doesn’t appear to hold any longer.

We have just recognized a “living legend,” long time Lovettsville farmer, James “Jimmy” Spring, 95.

Jimmy likes to tell stories, but this story I’m telling is about “Jimmy.”

It’s about Jimmy’s values, the ones we treasure as a community, that we celebrate, seek to emulate, because these values he shares give us a place to stand and enable us to achieve a worthy objective, whether it’s farming or anything else we might consider worthwhile.

Aristotle said, “Nothing improves your aim like having a target.”

Jimmy had a target, and a way to reach it, because he had the character transparent to everyone else, revealing exactly who he was, and what he was made of.

His force of character defines his life, as a living legend, and it’s particularly instructive for all of us to consider this man in our time of fact-free discourse of a seemingly rudderless and unworthy cast.

This past Sunday at about 3PM, at the local Lovettsville Lutheran Church in the basement, a crowd of 120 came to hear Jimmy’s story, and to watch a movie prepared by yours truly that expands upon the remarks I’m making here (the movie was posted on line after its premier at the award ceremony – and it’s free – https://vimeo.com/195151504 ). Continue reading

Looking for a moose

maine_2016_lighthouse_walkI went for a morning run in Owl’s Head, Maine, along the Northern coast, in the light cool rain – and no one was on the roads or the paths through the woods.

In the difficult places, in the woods along the waters of Owl’s Head, you have to pause to walk or run slowly, to move more carefully.

In this way, alert to a trip or a fall, I found inch high purple orchids, slightly agape, hanging in an array, against a seeming wall of wide green leaves and stems.

There were large patches of soft green-white moss beneath my foot fall, and tender fibrous growths clustered on obstructing over-hanging limbs.

Where there wasn’t moss on the forest floor, there was what had once been vibrant flora, flattened dead tree limbs, pressed moist leaves and branches, fallen by age or wind or the brush of a deer, or even another human passerby.

You had to dodge and tip toe carefully past swollen tree roots snaking across the narrow path, holding fast the earth below, knitting together what had been proudly strewn about the walk way over time.

Last week, there were leaves already turning to bright colors, ferns bordering the dark woods beyond, where there were shimmering shapes in the near distance in the morning’s soft wet breeze.

There were open air views from within the woods, indeed a vast dramatic expanse, when you looked out from the forest, to peak from the paths, as you turned around this or that deciduous column in the natural cathedral that held you close, reminding you, you have to do more of this.

There were the waters far below the cliffs, ebbing and flowing away, in rolling translucent waves of softly-changing colors, in elongated pools of blues, and greens, sometimes almost black, with silvery highlights, all the way eastward toward the gray morning light.

The moist air filled you up, opening your lungs, almost as effectively as a shot of espresso.

And it was quiet, except for the sound of the surf and the leaves and the trees brushed by the wind.

Man more and more exists separate from this entwining connection with nature that can make us whole and authentic. Continue reading