Its Greater Value
Like many, I have a fond attachment to the little red house on Grass Island. But I oppose the plan to move it to defer its ultimate fate, which may come sooner than our best efforts can prevent.
On most Saturday mornings, I visit the harbor and gaze at the house and its surrounding view-scape. On one recent morning, the tide was lapping at the footings of the house. I encountered an individual who has been deeply invested over the years in matters of town conservation and preservation. I asked if he knew of any plans to preserve the house from the progressively encroaching tides. His laconic reply was: to what point?
That I even asked the question suggests I may have lived in Guilford too long. It was an answer that I would have given 19 years ago when I chaired the Town Center South Planning Committee and we convened a workshop for shoreline communities on the possible impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. The presenters foretold what may come, much of which has been observable since. We learned much from that workshop, but the Committee and the Town have substantially failed to act on it to date.
Perhaps the most valuable purpose of the little house from this time forward is not to preserve nostalgic memories and imaginings of a simpler, gentler past but to be the "canary in the coal mine." Its slow demise by nature’s hand beckons us to ask what is next and what we must protect that we cannot afford to lose. That would be its greater value.