Reflections on a Gift of Land
Rarely can we enjoy a place and time chock-full of gratitude. I wish everyone could have been with me at the dedication of the Guy Grover Timber and Tree Plantings a few days ago to experience such a time and place.
I'm glad nearly 50 people turned out on a weekday morning to say “Thank you!” to Guy and Shirley Grover. It amazed us to ponder the twenty years of planning and planting that went into Guy's dream of creating a place where any of us can drop by and experience the wonders of the woods along the Wapsipinicon River.
There were moments of awe. I saw trees reaching far over my head – then realized they were just seeds two decades ago. The birdsong and creatures scuffling around their new home reminded me I'm not alone in the world. Then to think how often Guy got his hands dirty – alone and with recruits – to plant 30,000 trees! Then, he took one more amazing step to give them to everyone to love.
In the factual world, this day simply marked the gift of 186 acres to the Buchanan County Conservation Board. But the emotion went much deeper. After a state legislator, a county supervisor, the county conservation board chair and director and I were all able to speak some thanks, we got to the heart of the matter.
Max Grover, Guy's brother, spoke of sharing time on this land with Guy over 50 years. At first deer were extremely rare; now they are plentiful. Max was glad that others would now have “a chance to fall in love with this timber.”
And it was Guy's son, Mike Grover, who really put the the icing on the cake with these words:
“From the time my dad acquired this property in 1988, it has been his pride and joy. He spent many days of his retired life clearing, grooming, planting trees and doing whatever was necessary to enhance this beautiful timber. He came here often to deer hunt, fish, go mushrooming and enjoy everything this wonderful piece of Mother Nature has to offer.
He often referred to it as his Church!
He was always willing to share it with family, friends & neighbors and almost anyone that asked permission.
I have always thought of it as a selfless act to spend time planting thousands of trees when you will not live long enough to see them mature, but they will be there for future generations to enjoy.
Several years ago Dad asked me out of the blue what I would think if he donated this property to Buchanan County. I immediately responded, 'What a wonderful idea!'
One thing I learned a long time ago is everything we acquire as we dance on this planet is only temporary and ours to use as long as we are here. Nothing gets to go with us.
I am so proud of my Dad for leaving this living legacy to Buchanan County, Iowa, for all to enjoy!”
Thank you, Guy and Shirley. And thank you, Max and Mike, for getting to the heart of the story.