Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Mindful Walk

We walk down Bald Hill Road, Kodi and me. Overturned recycling bins line the roadside,
the blue bins just emptied by the trash hauler. The ditch is littered with beer cans,
tossed aimlessly from a car as if someone missed the recycling bin.
Do they laugh, I wonder, when they throw their empties out the window.

Specks of mica in the road pavement sparkle in the midday sun.
A bluebird sings from a sugar maple tree. No one has tapped the maples this year.

We walk onto the Cole Farm, through Vern's old orchard. The scraggly pear trees
are covered in lichen, they are passed their prime, as Vern has now passed.
His land conserved for all to enjoy. We walk the same paths that Vern walked,
through the fields and forests into the dark pine and hemlock glade where Vern wandered
to find solitude and respite from memories of war. The wind blows through the tree tops,
the swaying pines whine as they rub against each other.

We walk on to the Greenway to see the logging underway. Today, however
the machinery is idled. The weather has warmed, the road is too soft and muddy
for heavy equipment. The loggers wait for a colder day to return to their livelihood.
How they manage the stress of unpredictable weather I do not know.

The loggers have been busy since I last visited with the forester to see what should be cut,
to make habitat for hares and grouse and chestnut-sided warblers and other animals
that like new, young growth.The site looks clean, they worked hard to make it
so. Cutting and hauling wood is rough on their bodies and at first looks rough on the land.
The land recovers with time, more quickly when the logging is careful as it was here.

I can see Bald Hill from the new, big clearing. Kodi too looks out across the opening,
a clearing that is soon to be home to birds and insects and other sun-loving animals.
Turkeys scurry down a freshly cleared woods road, but not quick enough before Kodi
catches a glimpse. He chases but gives up, the turkeys run fast, fast enough to outrun
a coyote, or a dog.

The logged area draws my attention because it is so raw. Yet most of the forest remains,
the mature oaks and hickories, Vern's dense stand of hemlocks and pines, and much else.
Mud cakes the bottom of my boots. I think again that it is too warm for middle February.
Kodi wanders too far to eat something that he should not. I am not patient and try to
calm my wandering mind.

The clearing

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