Upper Arlington News

Guest column

The Point: A sanctuary of serenity, lasting values


If you have never walked around the Point -- the triangular greenspace north of the Municipal Services Center at Kenny and Tremont roads -- it is well worth the few minutes it takes.

There is a majestic air about this handful of acres that is a sanctuary for all of Upper Arlington.

Yet, if UA City Council has its way, it won't be long before this remarkably serene public plot disappears. In its stead will be yet another unremarkable landmark to commercial development, a pile of mortar and asphalt housing a business that, in time, will decide it needs to make another move.

For the time being, however, the space evokes a sense of calmness, depth and dignity, despite the hubbub of traffic on its bordering roadways. Mature, well-rooted trees stand like silent sentinels, guarding the site and providing peace in their shade.

They offer more, too.

For decades now, these trees have been planted by the people of UA in honor of others with whom they had worked or wanted to memorialize. Unlike statues erected in tribute to great leaders, these trees conveyed recognition and reverence for the hard work of everyday people who helped realize the vision of UA -- a clerk, a police officer, a city department, a councilperson. There are oaks and spruce; elm and maple; dogwood, honey locust, larch and magnolia; and Buckeyes, too.

In a city of stylish landscapes, the Point provides the community's seat of governance with one of its most elegant and evocative front lawns.

Nearby, the entryway to the MSC hosts plaques honoring the achievements of better-known residents who lived in different parts of the city. Collectively, they constitute the Wall of Honor. Included are: former Gov. James A. Rhodes, King Thompson, Woody Hayes, Arthur G. James and others.

It is telling that this community celebrates the accomplishments of the famous, the work of the industrious and the beauty of nature, all in such a confined space. Small can be powerful.

Half a century ago and halfway around the world, William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. His acceptance speech was short but powerful -- some might liken it to the Gettysburg Address, a few hundred words that so eloquently captured the essence of humanity.

The Mississippi author spoke then of "the old verities and truths of the heart ... love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice." He addressed aspiring writers whom he hoped would take up the call to help mankind to not just endure but to prevail. He cautioned them against writing "not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope."

These words seem fitting in the rustling of the trees at the Point. They speak of lasting values, not of short-term profits. Nature thrives at the Point and what is more wondrous than that? Humanity is respected there and what is more meaningful than that?

These are the old verities and truths of the heart. They spill from the human spirit and saturate the soil.

This is a place where people may go alone to reflect or in groups to enjoy. It's where visions take shape, where memories are made.

It is worth keeping the bulldozers at bay. Let us not destroy the serenity in this place, the peace in our hearts, for a handful of coins in our pockets.