For whatever reasons many younger folks I know had their first born child in the last two years. The same two years that Covid savagely scoured across the nation and the whole world these children entered the world. Yet, here were these newborns wrapped in those soft hospital blankets being held by new moms and dads who in those epic photos looked thrilled, tired, and in wonderment. The east end will be these newborns playground, their schoolyard, their local beach, their hometown. They are now forever from the east end.
All parents know there is a magic of watching growing children discover everything about anything. They touch, they smell, they taste, they throw, and of course they hold things as they experience what will be part of their forever. Even at sixty-something years old I can still vividly recall being at the beach as a child with a pail and shovel trying to dig a hole in the sand that I could ferry pail after pail of ocean water from the surf to fill that hole, only to watch it slowing sink back into the sand. There has to be some sort of hidden lesson and meaning to this ritual, because almost everyone, everywhere has done this while a child. Heck, now we older folks are thrilled to get to do it fondly with our grandchildren. It’s just one of those things.
A hot topic around the world these days centers around what kind of world we will be leaving these newborn legacies of ours after we take leave of life permanently. Will the oceans overcome the seashores, will there be enough clean drinking water, will there be enough trees and green plants to make oxygen, will there be enough food? And now, will they have to wear masks over their faces for their whole lifetime?
I always wonder what a newborn processes as we talk to them. What do they see as they experience colors, the sky, the sound of thunder or see a full moon or setting sunset those first times. What thoughts are they collecting to reflect on for the rest of their lives are they filing away in their young developing minds. Over the years I have hand the pleasure to interview some amazing local folks, some born before or during the great depression. They talked of no paints to paint homes, no glass to replace broken windows, no money to buy things but they all agreed no one was ever hungry or on food lines because there was always produce growing all around them, and meat to be easily hunted for, and the fishing was always good. Chickens laid eggs, cows were milked and there was a lot of trading. I fondly remember a 100 plus year old Mrs. Hand saying as a teenager attending Pierson there wasn’t much new material to make dresses, “but we made good with what we had.”
As I look forward and dream what kind of world my granddaughter, who was also born in the last year (4/2/2020) will exist in, I hope it is one that nourishes and prolongs a good life for her and perhaps extending to her grandchildren. The decisions we make now may be deciding factors for their future. However for we older folks the future is now, our playground is the east end whose natural beauty and purity has been and still is being preserved wisely by organizations like, The Group for the East End, The Peconic Land Trust and of course the money from the Citizens Preservation Fund (CPF,) along with many local laws and ordinances. Having had the opportunity to read some of the oldest laws of the towns of East Hampton and Southampton it is amazing how preserving the east end for the future was on their minds back in the 1640’s! Now it is our turn to cast our eyes on the future of the east end, and for that matter the whole world and make wise choices so that our children’s children can endure amd enjoy the beauty that is the east end.