Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30, 2009 - Foundry Pond, Hingham, Massachusetts

Sometimes you just have to stop the car, get out and start walking. I had one of those days today, with the clock ticking toward sundown, ignorant and uncaring of my daily need. I worked, ran my errands and realized I just had time enough to find the nearest place to park and get on foot.

It was only about five minutes to the pond. But the view is unexpectedly spectacular along the way.

There may have been more to my walk today than I knew. Foundry, or Weston's, Pond, has a story to tell about the birth of the Hingham Water Company and its hold on Hull. Wells were drying up in the peninsula town in the 1880s, and Hingham folks who had money invested in the high times going on down there wanted to be sure the fun would roll on. Among other steps taken by the company, a pipe was run from the pond to the beach. The proprietors of the steamboats, hotels and amusements were thankful for the service.

But the pond is not the major attraction here. Lane's stone quarry, a hole scooped out of the earth, speaks to me in another language. It was Hingham's Italian laborers from the early decades of the twentieth century that broke their backs to move the rock out of here. My grandmother and her siblings grew up on the neighboring street, just across the Weir River. My guess is that a Bravo, Galluzzo or Macauda may have toiled here in the past. Did I walk in the footsteps of my ancestors today?

It was less than a half an hour around the quarry. The newly-revived train line runs right past the area. I missed it today by minutes, as it sounded off as I was about to drive away. With a few minutes to kill, I walked down to another pond that, as kids, we simply knew as the Cherry Street Pond. Here, on days like this one, I strapped on my skates and took to the ice, playing keep away with my dad, his friends, and their sons. I know now that I want the same for my boy, and that I should buy myself a new pair and sharpen some skills that are no doubt very rusty. If I have my way, another generation of my family will leave its mark on this little section of our ancestral American home.
Time: 32 minutes.
New species: eastern towhee, common grackle, common redpoll (104).
Stranger hellos: None to be found.
The rest of the day: Led a 3 1/2 hour birding program; worked four more hours; spent time with my baby boy; posted a review on Amazon.

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