A space for creativity and calm
amidst a turbulent world
The story (we all like a good story, we think this is a good one, however it needs a happy ending!):
In 2008 I stepped out of my car on a cold and very barren winter day and heard, then saw, the waterfall cascading in 3 gentle, tumbling streams to my right. The effect was almost incredible—credible because I felt it, heard it, from every cell in my body that this place was waiting to be used for this purpose.
I walked up the stone steps with large gears holding them in place, remnants of the 310 year old flour mill. At the top, the over one acre pond was 25 feet away, a deep calming presence of a different sort than the waterfall. At 5 feet deep, the clarity showed the cleanliness of the water. Schools of fish could be seen here and there.
The pond and waterfall are a vital part of the healing here at the center. Prior to the March 2020 closing, canoes were often taken out and then up the stream with young people from neighborhoods who have never had the chance to drift hands in cool waters. During one retreat for seasoned guitar players (the age was 70-85), one gentleman decided that sitting in one of the teak chairs by the pond was the best use of his day, inspiration for music that he would create later.
This gentle and balanced ecosystem has been kept alive and vibrant with kingfishers crossing in the day, barn swallows swooping in the early evening and bats soaring at twilight, all searching for insects; herons and snowy egrets making a daily stop with an abundance of crayfish and tadpoles for their breakfast and lunch; snapping turtles and mallards raising their families in the safety of the waters and the overhang of trees and bushes. Foxes, deer, and raccoons from the woods could be seen on occasion in the evening at the far end, quenching their thirst at ponds edge and then slipping back into the night.
We are one of the few stream-fed ponds in an area of hundreds of ponds fed by underground water. We are part of a large watershed that has now shown the devastation of climate change and unchecked construction, and within 2 short years our pond has two large “islands” of silt, and most of the rest is only 2-3 inches deep. The few fish seen are those that get washed down in the rains to linger a bit in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The herons and egrets are infrequent instead of daily guests, the barn swallows and bats have left. The unmistakable cries of kingfishers are rare.
The rains have been more severe and with more asphalt, more construction up stream (some miles away). There is so much more runoff racing down the waterways through the stream and into the pond, depositing masses of mud and silt. We have had two storms this summer that breached the boulders at pond’s edge, flooding out the entry steps. These had to be rebuilt and the boulders fortified to protect from another flood.
We have started the research, had an environmental team out to survey and give us guidance — and the costs — to save the pond. We are thrilled that the wonderful local land conservancy has agreed to grant an easement for all the woods and waters in perpetuity, and we are hoping that they will be able to purchase the easement--however that will still leave a need for about 60% of the funds needed for the project.
To help with the rare grant applications for this type of project, we need to show that we have a caring, supportive community that values the work of the retreat and wellness center and is vested in protecting the environment that supports such a diverse population of animals and plants.
Please help. Please save the pond so it will be here for you
and all those who come to this safe space to heal, to rest, to rejuvenate.
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and as such, your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
With immense gratitude,
Barbara and all the beings of the woods and waters