Edie Howard and her husband, Charlie, preserved their 35-acre farm in Montgomery Township with D&R Greenway Land Trust in 2013. For Edie, her preserved land has come to hold a special meaning for her and her family.
Edie says, “Land is a magical resource. There’s energy in the land and healing in nature. These thoughts resonated with me when I was given the diagnosis of cancer. It completely startled me: I had been strong and fit, going to the gym four days a week, working out. Before I could catch my breath, I had surgery. I was looking at a course of chemotherapy that would last 18 weeks.
When you want your body to heal, it’s good to have a vision. I started with a vision of a rainbow which, to me, represented my mother’s love. The rainbow in my mind dissolved into a shower of iridescent colored bubbles.
I had a partner in my husband Charlie. We walked, every day, around the farm field we had preserved with D&R Greenway. Through the four month course of my treatment, we covered 700 miles.
As I was concentrating on the rainbow and the energy the colors were giving me, I could see butterflies and flowers and birds and sunsets and great swaths of green. The Queen Anne’s lace was so thick in the field it looked like a cauldron of bubbles. Bubbles were growing on top of red purple clover that looked like a sea reflecting the sunset. Without that field, my own sense of healing, shared with my four children, nine grandchildren and friends through weekly emails, would have been much less rich.
We managed to get in at least five miles a day, sometimes six or seven, and when I totaled it up at the end I said, ‘Wow, we’ve walked 700 miles.’ Hand-in-hand, all the way.”
Edie’s husband Charlie explains how the family feels about their decision to preserve their land.
He says, “It’s been about three years. So we’ve had 1,000 plus days to think about it. But we don’t think about it, because it was the right decision. The proof is how we feel. Would we have done anything differently? The answer is no. And it’s never going to be different.”