Transplant Times

I found the gem of Fort Mill

November 26, 2013 

One of the gemsin Fort Mill is the Anne Springs Close Greenway.

The gift of this nature preserve to the Fort Mill community is a legacy that will influence generations to come as they walk its trails and drink deeply of its beauty.

Meandering through the myriad trails you see birds, crazy spiderwebs, innumerable insects and all kinds of lifeforms that you normally miss on the streets and sidewalks of the city. When a person is enjoying God’s creation from this perspective it is not unusual for inspiration to rise up.

I am not sure how long it would have taken us to discover this amazing community resource without the help of my visiting father-in-law, Gerald.

Gerald is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He loves to experience life in the great outdoors whenever possible. When I visit him in Florida, I often find in his refrigerator the remains of some critter he has shot and is holding for the taxidermist. One time it was a bobcat in the refrigerator, and the most recent visit yielded the head of a 10-point buck. When Gerald came to visit us in South Carolina he seemed almost disappointed not to find any dead wildlife in our refrigerator. He couldn’t imagine what on Earth we were going to have for dinner.

When he learned that we have a nature preserve in our area he immediately wanted to visit.

When a person communes with nature it can give him or her a renewed perspective of whom he or she is in the grand scheme of things. As I was reading the history of the greenway I came across these profound words of Anne Springs Close:

“When I am out in the woods it makes you feel like you’re a little bitty piece, and that you’re here for such a short time. But on the other hand it makes me feel that I’m part of something worthwhile and eternal.”

Those who value nature and the great outdoors, like my father-in-law and Anne Springs Close, help our society to slow down and appreciate the world around us. We may be faced with monumental challenges as a society, yet there is always time to take a long appreciative look at the beauty that surrounds us every day. Nature speaks to us of harmony, peace, order and balance. In the natural world there is a regularity and a dependability as we come to rely on the changing of the seasons and the beauty that accompanies each one.

As a newcomer to Fort Mill I am learning about the tremendous investments that have been made to build not just a town or city, but a community. The people here are hospitable, humble and serious about the invitation to live out what they believe and to leave a legacy of excellence behind.

There may be no finer place to live than in Fort Mill, South Carolina. I am learning that the greatest asset this community has is its people. The people here are passionate about being a community rather than just talking and dreaming about what a community could be.

Speaking for myself, I shared a special time with my father-in-law as we meandered along the trails. Maybe you have experienced those moments where time kind of stands still and you can actually see things of eternal value that are often missed. In this outdoor sanctuary I felt as if my family and I had the space we needed to deepen and further our relationships.

I suspect that our experience was not entirely unique in the history of Anne Springs Close Greenway. Anne Springs Close and her family are to be eternally thanked for this remarkably generous gift that they have bestowed on the Fort Mill community.

Happy Trails to each of you.

You can reach William Winship and his wife Cherie Winship at

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