The old hymn goes, "For the beauty of the Earth," and as it is sung quite often in this time of the year, people in Elkins and surrounding areas must think about their vantage points because, truly, this area is a sight to behold during springtime.
Whether casting eyes upon the Elkins floral displays, Harman's flashing streams, Tygart Valley's new-born lambs and horses, Helvetia's apple blossoms or Coalton's flowering dogwood, this area sizzles with color and gorgeous sights.
As one enters Elkins, the American Legion Post 29's yellow flower display is just a small introduction to the number of flowering shrubs and trees that promise a beautiful view in almost any part of town. For years, homeowners and businesses have made efforts to brighten their properties with colorful plants that are in full glory through May.
Dogwood, Forsythia, Lilacs, Ornamental Cherry and Pear, Apple and Redbud are just a few of the blossoming shrubs and trees that adorn our area. These serve as a preview to the summer, because nearly everyone decorates their properties with flowers. Some think "Flower Power" started in the 60s, but it began much, much longer ago than that in this proud community.
Tremendous efforts are made to transform our streets into showplaces and success is always the result.
It is not an inexpensive venture to purchase plants. Those throughout our area who take time to make sure our town looks as good or better than any are commended for their efforts. They certainly understand that, with so many places competing for tourist dollars, it actually is a good investment for our community that people extend themselves to make this area pleasing to the eye.
Some may think we do not support the "green movement," but we do. More need to make visits here to understand that a lot of our energy goes into the soil.
Whenever I travel and tell people I am from Elkins, they immediately inform me that they love to visit here. They describe the fresh mountain air, beautiful surroundings, clean sidewalks and streets, friendly people, restaurant choices, and year-round events as the reasons for rolling-off Corridor H.
Some call it "ambiance." A pure definition for this is "an atmosphere or mood of a place or setting that gives one a feeling of connection to it." And, it is a good word by which we can set our standard. If people like being part of us, they will return often. And, I believe we will find that the dollars they spend here will be more important in the future, as other economies are not as strong.
when gasoline prices start to rocket skyward, we really do not have to visit Philadelphia or North Carolina to see fancy botanical gardens. We can walk to the grocery store or post office and enjoy seeing our own spectacular array of flowers on our stroll.
In "A Nation Made Great," Lyman Abbott noted, "A nation is made great, not by its fruitful acres, but by the men (and women) who cultivate them; not by its great forests, but by the men (and women) who use them, not by its mines, but by the men (and women) who build and run them. America was a great land when Columbus discovered it; Americans have made of it a great nation."
According to Abbott, it is certainly within our power to produce surroundings that reflect our beliefs. And, we owe it to one another to make the effort to assure that our environment and our living space commands attention and is the envy of other spots on this Earth. It all comes down to a matter of choice. What kinds of things do we value?
The beauty of the Earth is in our hands; let us continue to move them in ways pleasing to the eye, but moreover endearing to our people and the communities we call "home." For, it should go without saying, "Mister Rogers Neighborhoods" are preferred and Mr. Green Jeans always made a lot of sense.
The old hymn concludes:
"For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind's delight,
For the mystic harmony,
Linking sense to sound and sight.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise."
As many do sing this song during May church services, we are grateful, too, for the many who take our community seriously and try to make it the best. St. Francis of Assissi always prayed that he could be "an instrument of God" and we can be, also.