Letter to the Editor: Great Island — a balm for the human spirit

Each time I drive through the columns at the end of Rings End Road, life changes. My breathing slows; my grip on the wheel relaxes; my gaze shifts upward to wonderful evergreens.

This is Great Island, where I’ve been privileged to live for 32 years, and where I find respite from the noisy, programmed existence that defines much of the 21st century.

As I round a curve, I begin to see and hear the rich life of the place — wild turkey gobblers, Canada geese, the solitary great blue heron in flight. Ospreys soar overhead. Cormorants dive and vanish. Groundhogs and rabbits and skunks thrive along grassy edges high above the water, while at dusk, meadows and paddocks host fireflies blinking, blinking, trying to connect.

Now Great Island is for sale. Its future depends on whether it is allowed to continue as a sanctuary, or whether it becomes subject to relentless development. In a community that has only 3 percent open space, Great Island — reputedly the largest privately held parcel of waterfront property between Boston and Washington — can become the treasure of the whole town. Endless opportunities exist in particular for students and teachers to appreciate the beauty and challenges of the natural world.

Magnificent trees blanket much of this island. They help regulate temperature and sequester carbon, benefits that have significant local and even global ramifications. The rhythm of waves, the voices of shorebirds that have traveled thousands of miles to this spot, and many other wonders provide an antidote to pressures of all kinds. For Great Island is more than a place. It is a balm for the human spirit.

The city should buy Great Island.

Mary Parker Buckles, Darien