Good tidings came to me last evening, by email, which seems to be the tidings-bringer of preference these days. The bored gods have saved Terrapin Run!
For those of you who are just filling out applications to "The Gods Are Bored," here's the back story:
Terrapin Run is a tiny seasonal stream in Western Maryland. It begins as a series of springs on the eastern flank of Green Ridge and runs southward toward its confluence with Fifteen Mile Creek. Fifteen Mile Creek empties into the Potomac River about midway between Cumberland and Hancock.
EXHIBIT A: FIFTEEN MILE CREEK
A few years ago a large private property, through which Terrapin Run flows, got sold to a developer from Columbia, Maryland. The developer drew up plans to create a town of 11,000 people on the site, complete with shopping, ATV trails, and an equestrian center.
Currently the only thing on this property is wildlife and second-growth forest. And the aforementioned Terrapin Run. The property borders Green Ridge State Forest on one side and the Billmeyer Wildlife Refuge on another.
At first most of the citizenry of Allegany County liked the idea of a bustling new borough in their struggling midst. Largely through the work of a small group of environmental activists and local residents, however, Allegany County's rank and file changed its mind. When last polled, 80 percent of those responding said the Terrapin Run development should be scuttled.
Nevertheless, the developer persisted. Don't they always? This led to an expensive and lengthy land-use lawsuit that was just heard by the Maryland Court of Appeals during the final week of November. While the lawsuit proceeded, Allegany County's Water and Sewer board told the developer he could only build a maximum of 900 units on the property. (The developer wanted 4300 units.)
Yesterday, the Maryland Department of the Environment barred the developer from doing any large-scale construction on the property. The MDOE cited environmental degradation of Terrapin Run and Fifteen Mile Creek. The latter is a Tier II stream that harbors one of Maryland's two populations of the endangered plant, Harperella.
"So, Anne," a bored reader asks, "What did you do to push this along?"
Thank you for asking! Would you like some home made fudge? Oh, go ahead. Take two pieces. Yes, it is good, if I must say so myself. It's that easy recipe on the side of the Marshmallow Fluff jar...
Where was I? Oh yeah. What I did to push along the salvation of Terrapin Run.
Practially speaking, I became one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, because my co-owned piece o' nuthin farm is nearby. Before you call me a NIMBY, please be advised that my farm is on the next mountain over, on the western side, and wouldn't have been impacted environmentally by the development, except perhaps in the rather important issue of ground water.
So don't call me a NIMBY. You can call me Gumby. I'll call you Pokey. And we'll have a swell time.
Being a card-carrying Pagan, however, I could not trust this momentous series of unfortunate events simply to the machinations of the apparent world. And so I Cast a Work on Terrapin Run. I called upon the Gentry of Sidhe to protect the creek. As a symbol of the sprites and bored gods and goddesses I urged to Work with me on this, I left ceramic elves on the old concrete bridge where Scenic Route 40 crosses Terrapin Run. And for two years I have been wearing an ankle bracelet with a terrapin charm on it -- an old relic from my dad's days at the University of Maryland. I said I wouldn't take the bracelet off my ankle until I knew the creek would be saved.
EXHIBIT B: MARYLAND TERRAPIN
Today I'm wearing a new pair of shoes, and that little terrapin charm is biting and scratching my ankle every time I move. I think it knows that it could take a nice long rest in my Spare-ravaged jewelry box.
As night falls on this shortest day of the year, I thank the Gentry, the fae, the wood-sprites and elves, Chonganda, and all the other deities who have teamed to protect Terrapin Run. Never has a Yuletide brought more warmth and light to me than this.
Moral of the sermon: Magick works. And don't forget to butter the pan before you pour the fudge mixture into it.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS