I hope this message finds most, if not all of you, safely at home and coping as well as can be expected under such extraordinary circumstances. I know many of you who read this work in the medical profession. Thank you, truly, for all that you do. There is no new news regarding Crebilly Farm at this time. As much of the rest of the world, things are on hold for now. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out and check in. And I will confess, this message is too long… you’re welcome:)
This Summer will mark four years since an agreement of sale was reached between Toll Brothers and the owners of Crebilly Farm. I vividly recall at that time many said: ‘It’s a done deal. Why bother fighting it? The developers always win!’ As we all know now, it still is not a done deal. We continue to pursue a better outcome because it matters. And the developers have not won- not yet. If not for the relentless massive public outcry, thanks to all of you, nearby residents, surrounding public, Westtown and neighboring townships, it very well could have become a done deal in rather short order. Yet here we are, almost four years later, Crebilly Farm sits peacefully undisturbed, in all her splendor, blooming into a new Spring. I can only imagine the consequence of time, which is on our side, and how this global pandemic could affect the outcome of Crebilly Farm, down the road.
Even as a child, I have always been in love with nature and open space. Somewhere in my late twenties, I fell in love with things like peace and quiet and learned to value solitude. So I sort of laugh at myself right now… it seems I have been social distancing for almost two decades yet never knew it had a title. This global pandemic, bringing societies to their knees, has been shocking to say the least. I have been deeply humbled by the sight of empty shelves at the supermarket, scared people in masks and gloves and the constant, repetitive recording over a loud speaker of ‘rules for social distancing.’ No hand-shaking, no hugging, no contact. I feel like I am in a sci-fi movie. I can only imagine Crebilly Farm fully developed, the loss of her open space and history and more people and traffic competing for the same food, supplies and space.
Individual responsibility to protect and preserve the greater good, however small the part we play, is something I have always taken to heart. Sometimes, the bigger picture is so important there needs to be an intervention. Who could have ever seen a mandatory order coming from our Governor to wear masks in public during this pandemic? The intervention is to protect and preserve our elderly, those with compromised immune systems and others. We are the intervention between the unreasonable proposed development of Crebilly Farm and a thoughtful development and/or preservation plan. It is up to all of us to protect and preserve the greater good and what we hold so dear in Chester County: our community, open space, national history and surrounding nature.
When I was a kid, I had an Uncle Reggie that teased me mercilessly, threatening to cut off my long hair and make paint brushes from it. He was gruff and tough but he had a heart of gold and that man knew every single country road in Chester County. For fun, my Aunt Mary would pack a picnic lunch for the four of us and Uncle Reggie would let my brother and me choose which way to go. He would ask: left or right? We learned to answer quickly and accurately or else he would make the decision for you and he wasn’t going to turn around if you made a mistake. This adventure of the unknown thrilled us! It gave us a priceless tour of the breathtaking beauty we took for granted and- it killed a lot of time. Somehow, we would always end up at the perfect picnic spot next to a gorgeous open field of wild flowers or a herd of horses or next to the Brandywine river.
The world is on a windy, country road right now and no one knows what is around the corner. That can be scary. It can be exciting. It can mean opportunity. It can bring change. There is goodness that comes from every challenge. So, may you treat yourself to a guiltless tank of gas and explore the beauty of the sweet country roads all around us. Maybe you’ll pack your lunch and have a picnic… who cares if it ends up being in the backseat of your car. May you turn off your devices, tune out the toxic and engage in whatever nurtures your soul. Indulge in that second cup of coffee or tea while you watch the birds. Create something just for the hell of it. Wear that cute new outfit even if you are the only one who sees it. No matter what you do, take your time doing it. And most important, may you stay healthy and know that this is not how it will be forever.
Someone very dear taught me long ago ‘grateful people are happy people.’ For some reason, that makes me think of the Irish: ‘May you always walk in sunshine.’ Literally, when the sun is out, drop everything, go outside and enjoy. It’s as simple as that.