We are a community of neighbors, friends, families, children, volunteers, business men and women, entrepreneurs, artists, writers and retirees…did I leave anyone out. However, for as long as I can remember, Paris Hill has always had a unique way of bringing people together. Whether old or new to the area, in my case very old having grown up on the Hill and my ancestral history, everyone seems to find their niche and settles into the Hill’s peaceful lifestyle.
Other than Native Americans, Paris Hill was founded by outsiders who came from a Massachusetts colony. Throughout the years, decades and centuries ‘settlers’ have traveled here and made Paris Hill their home. Many of the original buildings remain although some have been repurposed from county municipal buildings into generational family homes. Some have been lost to fire or decay and others have sprung up out of the ashes. Families and names have come and gone but a true community spirit remains. A handful of original buildings and homes have survived to remind us of those who came before and insure that generations to come will enjoy the peace and tranquility of this exceptional historic village.
This past winter we lost our 200 year old pasture pine that graced our back field. I’ve seen photographs of it when it was slightly more than a sapling. I would gaze upon it from my kitchen window and envision the memories of the past two hundred years held in its branches. It survived two house fires on the corner lot of Lincoln and Paris Hill roads as well as many severe blizzards, summer droughts, the occasional tornado and the scourge of the white pine weevil infestation. A testament to the survival of this centuries old beautiful village we all call home. Many of us have left the confines of this village looking to embark on our life’s journey only to return ‘home’ to live out our days enjoying the cherished peacefulness of Paris Hill.
We go out of our way to welcome newcomers, rekindle old friendships, mend differences, embrace challenges and support our community. We take care of one another, running errands for an elderly neighbor, being quick to lend a helping hand, shovel snow, mow a lawn, walk a dog or just watch a neighbors house while they are away. But most of all we are dedicated to preserving this village we call home.
We come together for community dinners, holiday breakfasts, fairs, entertainment and celebrations of all kinds. We lower the flag on the Common when a neighbor passes away and welcome the births of the next generation. Everyone shares their hidden talents and their hopes for a bright future we can all appreciate.
Some of us are walkers, runners, bikers and some of us are just porch sitters. We wave, chat, engage, share a story, offer an invitation and sometimes just try to figure out who walked past our house. Seems many ‘outsiders’ like to partake of our serene environment. People feel safe walking around the Hill and enjoy the beauty at every turn: the old houses, gardens, mountains, sunsets and occasional rainbows.
Late at night I fall asleep to the solemn ring of the church bell and train whistle in the distance. It’s a lullaby I’ve experienced most of my life and has washed over this community for centuries.
So as you go about your day and prepare for the holidays take time to enjoy the peacefulness that surrounds you and be mindful of the treasures God has bestowed on our small community. As fall transitions into winter yet again, we accept the falling leaves, the inevitable snowstorms, piercing cold, bare landscape and brisk moonlit nights. We huddle in our homes by the fire and relive summer’s memories. Some neighbors have closed up their summer homes and left for warmer temperatures. The rest of us hunker down and count our blessings by the hearth with family and friends.
‘HAPPY THANKSGIVING’ to all my friends and neighbors who help make this community so very special. And a very special thank you to all of you who support my fundraising projects throughout the year.