I’ve lived in Western MA since 1964 but my connections stem from my childhood when I would spend time at my Grandparent’s farm in Sheffield. The land marks telling me we were approaching the farm are still etched in my mind, the oil and stone roads, the covered bridge, the dairy farm with the big rock in the middle of the pasture. Western Massachusetts is deep in my bones.
I never realized how deep until I began a search for a house where I will grow old with my wife and a dear friend. I looked at many houses in towns scattered about Western Massachusetts, concentrating mostly on what is known locally as the hill towns.
I discovered a clear sense of a boundary in the landscape within which I felt at home. Within this boundary I know the topography of the land, most of the larger streams and ponds, the roads and where they go, and many of the mountains, hills, sand trails. Within this local it would be hard for me to be lost for very long.
I found a house with a beaver pond and woods on ten acres that kept calling me back. I didn’t know why until this invisible boundary came into my awareness. Then I had a dream that told me I needed to die in a home that I owned. This ownership was about being connected to the land, a place where the land, woods, and water called to me, where I would never be alone because of a web of relationships cultivated over 47 years of living A place I could never be lost.
The beaver pond house is almost in the center of this invisible boundary that lives inside of me. The house is in the town of Cummington but I feel like I’ll be a citizen of a place, a geographic location that ranges over several of the local hill towns. A place that calls me back whenever I cross this invisible boundary. This beaver pond house now awaits the presence of myself, my wife, and our dear friend.