Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 1, 2012

Letter: Let's pursue slower pace so that we can live

Editor, Townsman:

I just buried an ancient wise one, a huge, old snapper crushed on Pleasant Street by someone driving in too much of a hurry.

Sobered by this encounter, for I had just met this fellow and taken its picture two days prior as we encountered one another near the marsh on the other side of the road, I ask us to pause and consider what Ishmael, the main character in the book that most of our children have had to read in high school or as college freshmen, asks us to consider: what does it mean to consider ourselves so casually as conquerers of the world... and to live as if the world is ours for the taking -- with such disregard for other creatures?

Perhaps we should also consider just slowing our pace so that others may live. Perhaps it is time to consider a one-way loop for the two-mile block of Haggetts Pond Road, Bailey Road, and Pleasant Street. I often walk my dog around this very old loop, “the block” we called it as West Andover “farm area” children in the sixties. No matter the season, its charm never fails -- in early autumn the ancient grape vines grace me with the smell of Concord grapes which I eagerly taste -- at least one or two. Old farm houses, now renovated and worth a million dollars still send friendly, ghostly greetings, conjuring memories. I think of the metal cup at the old chicken farm on Bailey Road. We all drank at their pump across the street. But at other times, I am knocked from this memory-lane peace by the speed with which huge SUVs and other vehicles tear through my old neighborhood, often without slowing when approaching me and my dog.

And today, upon encountering the carnage of this ancient one I ask myself...I ask all of what end, to what end do we rush to the mall, to have our nails done, to the work meeting...if along the way we threaten, and, yes, kill, those we encounter on the road? I call myself, I call all of us, to a greater reverence for a slower pace -- in all things -- in all ways -- so that we can live a gentler and more sustainable life.

Emily Kearns

227 Haggetts Pond Road

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