When our family moved to the small village of Carlisle in 1972, it still deserved the description “small village” as it was a sleepy residential farming community of 450 people, 30 minutes from Hamilton. In the intervening 30 years Carlisle has been heavily developed, with several large subdivisions of former farmland into modern residential developments.
Mom and Dad’s house — the house I called home intil 1985 — was built in the middle of the last century. It’s a modest single family home on a 2 acre plot of land. Throughout much of my childhood the family project was the planting of trees on the back portion of the land; the healthy forest that sits where a once was only a field is a testament to our labours.
When I was home last week with Oliver I had my first opportunity to walk around the new neighbourhoods that have grown up around Mom and Dad, filling in what once were farm fields. It struck me that their property, sandwiched between the road and the creek as it is, was a sort of “firewall” against further residential development. I didn’t know how right I was; here’s a screen shot, from Google Maps. I’ve marked out Mom and Dad’s property in red.
Go down and to the left and you see mostly new development in the last 10 or 15 years; up and to the right is still field, forest, and older houses. In a very real and physical sense, all those trees we planted as kids are now a sort of “last line of defense.”