Learning Mountain Stewardship, Discovering Friends
How the mountain found me, and how I changed
By Peter Weeks
Eight years ago, nostalgic for the Green Mountains of Vermont where I lived for many years, a real estate agent showed me a property on the Blue Ridge with stunning views of the valley reaching over to the Bull Run Mountains. As I approached retirement, I was looking for a simpler life without the stresses of traffic, smog, and noise.
Eventually I moved out to Bluemont full-time, selling my house in the city, and committing myself to a new way of living.
At some point, as I began to restore the land from the ravages of invasive species, cutting enormous vines from trees that were literally strangling them, and hacking away the thick undergrowth, I had the belated realization that I had taken responsibility for this little piece of earth.
The concept of “stewardship” had not yet formed in my mind, but a friend who witnessed my efforts told me that there was an organization called Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and suggested I might like to check them out.
Contacting Friends, I discovered like-minded, dedicated neighbors who shared my enthusiasm for maintaining and preserving the mountains. I also began to understand the fragility of their existence in the face of relentless development and urban sprawl.
I parlayed my skills in finance to become the current Treasurer for Friends, and am active in its education and membership development committees.
Whether a person lives on the Blue Ridge or not, the feeling of stewardship is resonant for every one of us who values the presence of these ancient mountains.
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