My Island Home: DWhite

Oliver Goldsmith’s, “The Deserted Village,” evokes sympathy and sentiment for country life. This illustrates the notion that when we have a rural connection, we belong to a community of people who care about us, and care about what happens to us. The photograph was taken from my property on St Peter’s Bay, PEI. To me it conjures up a connection to home, a love of place, while radiating a rural sensibility.

When Goldsmith speaks about the impact of the ‘shift of interest’ from working the land, and living in a tight community; to an interest in farmland being delivered into the hands of millionaires to develop and abuse: it illuminates the parallel to my own community of St Peter’s/Greenwich. Wealthy people ‘from away’ wanted to develop the tender ecosystem of Greenwich, rendering it a place for condominiums and wealthy landowners. But public sentiment fought against the development and it was nixed. Armed with knowledge and bravery, Islanders were able to save a treasured area of our Island landscape.

Goldsmith also speaks about the erasing of the small family farm from the rural landscape. This sentiment is very familiar to people of Prince Edward Island (PEI). We have watched the gradual demise of the small family farm for a couple of generations. Unfortunately, these family farms are being replaced by big industry that have healthy appetites and big pocket books.

It is important that people of this rural based Island remain true to their roots and their traditions without losing their integrity, as we anticipate what comes next.  Residents of PEI have a rich history of fighting for the rights of its citizens, and for bravely moving into the next part of the journey without fear. Unlike Goldsmith’s rural outcome, hopefully, we can straddle the fence of progress and tradition while learning to value our ‘way of life’ without ignoring new creative opportunities.

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