When Hambley Williams sold his meadow, he said, "It's like I was givin' up part of myself."
Hambley's feeling for his meadow was more than nostalgia, more than a desire to conserve the bountiful gifts of nature. He came to the meadow when the world was too much for him, and its strength flowed into him, and renewed his spirit. He sold it because he had to, and to Lars Pederson because Lars understood and would preserve it as it had always been.
The sale affected the lives of many people. It divided a community. It brought about a re-assessment of values, and in the end, a realization that people must be accepted for what they are not as others would have them be.
The story is about a community, everyday folk like Hambley Williams, mail carrier and veteran of the First World War, people of the "thirties", people of the west far removed from thoughts of marching armies overseas until in Hambley's meadow a cache of the dynamite is found. Mostly it is about Lars Pederson.
Lars acquires Hambley's meadow as part of a run-down farm near Silver Sands, a summer resort where "nothing ever happens." His neighbor, land hungry, and a power in the community, had wanted the place for his son. Bitterness develops, and confrontation that has its culmination in the final chapter. There is intrigue and strife, barn burning and fence cutting, but also the good times, and Hambley's legacy, "the beauty and peace of the meadow."