My children have a picture book called "This is How We Live in the Town." I've never been crazy about the book, but I love the title.
In this town, we sit down together over fresh rhubarb pie from one neighbor's kitchen and another neighbor's rhubarb patch. We dollop on fresh whipped cream from the Jersey cow next door. We look after one anothers' children so that we might ride, or run, or hike or bike in the cool forests and broad tracks of the looming hills, or so that we might enjoy the company of one anothers' children for their own sake. When we see one another, we stop in the lane and lose an hour chatting. We phone one another because our headlights were left on, or because we have an extra slice of cake, or because there are perennials to be divided.
In this town, we all grow the same great garlic, a strain that has been spreading in concentric circles from one well-tended garden. Bulb by bulb, generation by generation, season by season. We grow the same fat, sweet raspberries, too, from a patch that has been widening since 1986. There are canes as far away as the penninsula. In this town, we gather to plant flowers in February, and we picnic in the sun in March. In April, we drink tea beside the woodstove against the chill of a rainy morning.
Some of us live here because our fathers' fathers lived here, and some because it was what we could afford. Some of us came here to get away, and some came here to stay. Some of us live here because it would hurt our hearts to leave. Some of us live in houses, some in trailers, some in cabins. We all wake up to the song of the marsh, though, and we all go to sleep under an incredible sky. This is how we live in Wickersham.