“Fall is the best time to sow the native seeds…spring may do but many miss comeing up that year!” John Bartram to his son William, 1761
There are moments in life when a backward view shows how momentous change was wrought with an easy nod or a spirited statement.
We have images in our mind's eye that make our personal and private garden a masterpiece. Whether the fact matches the dream is left to the definition of those friends that we allow to visit.
Moving into this particular autumn, I reflect on many of these moments in my life and recognize how turning leaves and watersheds are so symbolic of my own travels, trails and trials.
Bartram’s Garden is a masterpiece whether the world notes it or not. It is my dream and conception of it that is perfect. Execution be damned.
I am blessed with a good wife, responsible children, and many goodly friends. I owe my present condition to them. Without them, I wouldn’t anticipate the future with such unrestrained enthusiasm and optimism.
I am here because of the urging of one friend in particular. It is she who first crafted the dream that cracked the butterfly’s chrysalis. I dined with her recently.
Stephanie Cohen's open door policy extends to her house, garden and life. She welcomes one and all to her bountiful brand of wisdom, wit and verve.
Stephanie Cohen is operatic in her perennial overtures. She is constantly connecting and dispensing. She is welcoming, warming, and wonderfully quixotic with humor and happening. In all of our recent conversations, she urges us all to, “pay it forward!” And I love her the more for it. She reminds me to live in my own world and let others join or follow. The example I set or the passion I feel will only be positive if it’s shared. My door should be open to all possibilities.
I am standing here in my autumn to pay it forward. There have been many others like Stephanie throughout my life that allow me to view the world from a high vantage point. My correspondence and my conversations with the learned and the notorious have prospered my business.
This education has come to me for the asking. The generosity of the true professionals has always astounded me in its honesty and selflessness. The goodness in this green industry can be found like running water in nature.
Which brings me to how my life in this particular autumn is one rich watershed.
W. Scott Douglas, President Cook's Creek Watershed Association
Plentiful water resources grace North America. We must take responsibility for protecting them with what we put on or in the soils through which that water moves. Cook’s Creek is an area of roughly 30 square miles in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia. It is closest to the Richland Friends Meeting founded in 1723.
- Cook’s Creek Watershed Association
I had the marvelous opportunity to discuss my views of the importance of preserving our natural resources with the Cook’s Creek Watershed Association. They are a long-established group to be so closely defined on such a specific subject in such a small geographic area. They are to be treasured. It comforts me that even at my advanced years, I can still be surprised by the political causes that others choose to embrace. This topic is one that should electrify the world. It needs to energize and empower. We need 1,000 more Cook’s Creek Watershed Associations in order to produce a meaningful effect.
Our lives need to encourage the nature around us not endanger it. This watershed association connection needs to become an episode in my public discourse: a watershed call to action.
In this autumn, I need to “pay it forward.” This can be my watershed autumn of turning a new leaf.