Well, I’ve just spent the last 10 days trying to save one of my town’s two archaeological sites.
Our town decided to build a field complex in an area that contained a beautiful 18th century road and several archaeological sites. One of those sites is Devil’s Den, the only granite solutions cave in Eastern Massachusetts. (It’s a lot bigger than it looks in the picture.)
The fields committee and architect said it would be saved and folks believed them.
Ten days ago I opened the paper to this headline, “Devil’s Den To Be Demolished.” Shocked folks wrote to those in charge.
The next morning we first heard our cave had been demolished. Later that had been revised to “hoe-rammed.” They broke a chunk off the left side. But the rest of it was still intact.
Then the finger pointing started. Then the throwing folks under the bus started. The the mea culpas started. Then the over compensating started. The BOS got TONS of emails from all sorts of folks.
I visited the cave yesterday. They had to blast through an unbelievable amount of New England Ledge on this hilly site. The cave had blasting paraphernalia all around it. The area around it had been dug up. Yet, it stood so proud up there on the top of its hill.
I wondered who would hurt something so defenseless. It was hard to enough to see 9 acres of trees, hills and dales go.
The cave is in the Images of America series on our town. It’s on cave sites. It’s on historic sites. It’s one of a handful of “Devil’s Den’s in Massachusetts, named by the Puritans.”
And still this happened. It took my husband to point out why.
He said, “Were any of you at the site on a regular basis making sure it was being protected?”
“No,” I said.
“To folks who don’t care about natural history,” he said. “It probably looked like a pile of big rocks.”
Ah, that ole’ perspective.
We had a public hearing last night, where I spoke first. I expressed my municipal motto, “Build community, not resentment. This isn’t the way to do that.” Tens of folks got up to speak about the cave. Eloquent, impassioned speeches about how this happened to our special little cave, our Devil’s Den. They spoke of its importance to our local history.
Some of our leaders appeared to have all ready decided the cave’s fate. Not sure they have the right to do that. The cave belongs to all of us. But the roomful of people who cared about the cave, their speeches, the cave’s historic evidence, it alerted them to the gem they were about to lose forever.
I learned more important life lessons in the past week than I have in the past six months:
a) Don’t assume someone will keep their word.
b) If you care about something, be actively involved in its protection.
c) Make sure the exact care and feeding instructions are outlined in writing.
d) Educate folks about the importance of natural wonders and local history.
e) Understand that it’s never too late to save something.
f) Jump into action and give it your all.
p.s. Please check out my self-discovery writing adventure at story circle on-line.