I count myself among the couple dozen Groton families who directly or indirectly abut the Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary from all points on the compass. Like they, I marvel at the natural beauty of the flora and fauna that present themselves at our doorsteps. What wonderful acts of forethought, kindness and conscience have been bestowed on al of us, (these are public-access lands), by Mssrs. Moulton, Lacombe, Collins, Pine and Blackman. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.
I would like to speak directly to the visionary at the early end of this noble deed. It has been my privilege to come to know my next- door neighbor Arthur F. Blackman of Indian Hill Road. Dr. Blackman's intellect and imagination have been inspiring to me in many forms and areas of life in Groton, not the least of which is his dream for the Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. I have a unique perspective. I look out upon this expanse of Eden from the very windows where Dr. Blackman set his ideas in motion.
I am reminded of Arthur's doctoral dissertation at Harvard, in which as he described to me, "(he) tried to impress would-be teachers that in any distribution of students there are some 'learners' for whom words are not their dominant/primary learning tool." Examples of this would be learning through music, sport, nature, etc. I myself learn visually or spatially, which provided an important advantage to understanding Arthur's love of nature. I look upon the Rocky Hill Sanctuary from my window. Even though the trees have grown since Arthur lived in this house, on winter days, I can still see Mt. Wachusett and the John Hancock tower in Boston that were sources of inspiration for him. Since I learn visually, I can both see and therefore comprehend his grand plan for the preservation of this forest. I imagine that every family home is governed from one room in particular. Some houses are centered on the kitchen, others from the family room. A home that straddles two towns on the line is supposed to pay taxes to that town in which the master bedroom sits. For my daughter and me, the core of our experience here dwells in my home office. Here we write, read, draw (and sometimes sleep)! It is not lost on me that it was from this room that Arthur penned some of his ideas about environmental activism. It is a privilege to see Groton, and the wide world alongside it, from his perspective.
In the weeks prior to moving here to Groton, my mother died. A bright light that shined from her spirit extinguished all of a sudden and I entered a period of sadness at a time when my visual learning was being bombarded by so many new and wonderful things all around me in Groton. Arthur and his wife Camilla coached me on the many necessities of care for my new house, and in the process fielded many questions far afield that topic, from the nature of life and death to interpersonal relations. I am a better man today because of their advice and patience. Arthur Blackman is not only a visionary; he is a man of principle with a voice of reason that respects every man in the context of his environment, and the times in which he lives. These are things I remember when I walk the trails of Rocky Hill.