“Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.” Wendell Berry
The theme of my letter to you this week is love – a universal language, yet fraught with complexity and mystery. I am no love expert, by any means. But, I know it when I feel it.
I feel it when I am driving down US Hwy 17 South to my family’s property in the ACE Basin. I feel it when I see my daughter taking pictures out the window as we are traversing the vast expanse of marsh at the Combahee River, her favorite part of the drive. I feel it when we are driving the dirt road to our little cabin in the woods, and I look around and think about how grateful I am that my father placed a conservation easement on the property back in the late ’90s. And now, 20 years later, my three children are experiencing the wonder and joy of the outdoors, and falling in love with it.
Just last week, Lowcountry Land Trust was granted a conservation easement on a 1,247-acre property in Hampton County near the Savannah River. You may never see this property. You may, or may not, drive by it. But, just like my father’s land that he protected 20 years ago, this 1,247-acre property will remain quietly preserved, yet tirelessly working every day, yielding generations of unseen, but felt, public benefits – trees that absorb and store carbon and filter our air, wetlands that hold rain and stormwater like natural sponges, habitat for some of the most remarkable bird species in the world that delight our eyes and give us clues into nature, and the opportunity for people to farm, hunt, fish, and simply enjoy the myriad wonders of the outdoors. A former colleague of mine and a sage sea islander, Lewis Hay, once said: “People grant a conservation easement on their land for three reasons: they love the land, they love the land, and they love the land.” Truer words could not be spoken.
It is love, and a curiosity and reverence for the natural environment, that have permanently protected hundreds of thousands of acres of land across the Lowcountry. While I may never set foot on many of these properties, I sure am grateful to the landowners who made the decision to conserve them. We need protected open space, both public and private, woven together to make a lasting impact. Public spaces connect people to the land and to each other. Private lands serve as stitches in the embroidery of our landscapes.
Thank you, to every single landowner who makes the choice to steward and protect their land. Thank you for choosing love.
All the best,
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust
[The President’s Log will feature a series of rotating guest writers, including LLT staff and board, as well as friends of Lowcountry Land Trust]
This edition of the Lowcountry Land Trust President’s Log is presented with support from Charleston Green. Thank you!