Letter to the Editor - The Millerton News - 1-12-23

A reflection on the newest chapter in Troutbeck’s story

(A concerned neighbor writes in the spirit of Lewis and Sophie Mumford, Myron and Marianna Benton, Joel and Amy Spingarn, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, and many more.)


For many in life there will come one time;

a moment, a crossroads, that itself defines

how we are remembered throughout the ages.

For most of us that history is small

and soon forgotten to the past,

but on the newest chapter in Troutbeck’s story

history will shine it’s honest light, and forever

allow our children’s children and great-grandchildren

to vividly see, with clarity,

how in that moment we chose to write,

forever, our family’s legacy.


I’ll echo Lewis Mumford’s prescient words

who spoke of Troutbeck’s timelessness being freed

from the city’s urgency (and carelessness).

He eloquently wrote of the spirit of a place

that has, since Caleb Benton’s time,

linked families to that soil and land

and for generations has inspired

the continuation of a collaboration

between the world of nature and the spirit of man.

With learned insight he hoped that reverence

would for centuries to come rise up

and protect those glens from greedy plans

for development and parking lots.


If you own a manor with history profound,

before you move to defile that hallowed ground,

(where Sinclair Lewis and Mark Twain both

spent days of quiet leisure)

sit down, alone, with a quiet mind,

(as did John Burroughs and Myron Benton)

and there beside that lovely stream

(so admired by Emerson and Thoreau)

open your hearts and embrace the past

in a spirit of introspection,

and before becoming historic villains

first contemplate those unspoiled fields

and that wooded mountain.


That majestic mountain, eons old,

stands a silent monument

to those men of fame who nature so adored,

who fought to stay the selfish hand of man

and the earth’s destruction did abhor

and did shield that ancient hunting ground

held sacred by true native clans

from the soulless excavators wanton claw

and the bellowing bulldozers gaping maw.

James Robertson Paton


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