This post was contributed by Cris Raymond, one of the newest trustees on The Mount’s board.
I have been asked to relate why I joined the board at The Mount. First, let me say that it truly was an honor to have been invited. As an English major in college, an editor in New York City, and a writer, I always have admired the works of Edith Wharton. The fact that she was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in literature and that she chose to build her home here in the Berkshires is also something that I behold with pride.
Although I spent most of my adult life in New York City and Europe, I grew up in the Berkshires. When I was at school here, my headmistress constantly reminded us that the “O” of “obligation,” comes before the “P” of privilege. We had to spend one afternoon a week working for and in our community. When I returned to live in the Berkshires, I took that “O” very seriously and continue to do so. I can think of no better way to serve my community than by working with the board of The Mount to protect this national treasure.
There is a creative energy in the Berkshires. Practitioners of Chi Qigong, the art of transferring healing energy through the body, believe that hemlocks and pines give off energy. Here in the Berkshires we are surrounded by forests of pine and hemlock. It cannot be a coincidence that this energy may have played a part in Edith Wharton, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Serge Koussevitzky, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and many others choosing to have their homes here. Longfellow began his poem Evangeline with “This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks ….” It is most unfortunate that Longfellow’s house in nearby Pittsfield was torn down.
We must do everything in our power to preserve, protect, and cherish the heritage these creative artists left us and share it with the world at large. Another poet, T.S. Eliot wrote: “Time past and time present are all contained in time future.” Now, in the present, we must act and do what we each can to ensure the future of The Mount.
If you are interested in learning more about The Mount and ways you can help, please contact Lindsay Codwise in the Development office by e-mail or by telephone at 413-551-5112.