"I'm just trying to get some of the ice off some of the bridges," one of my two stranger hellos said today. "It's no fun on the bike when they're half clear, half ice." I could see that. It was hard enough working these trails on foot. I can't imagine what it must have been like to ride a bike over them.
He didn't have to ride his bike on these trails today, but then, I didn't have to go for a walk either. I was no one to question motives on this cold morning.
My path today circled Woodpecker Pond, one and a half times. I was almost around it entirely when I heard a distant, but loud, drumming on a tree. Yes, woodpeckers at Woodpecker Pond. I doubled back to find out what it was, hoping for a species I hadn't seen this year, but knowing the chances were slim. They were, in fact, nil. I found hairies, downies and red-bellies, familiar faces from many short winter walks already transpired.
Trees have been coming down in bunches this year. The deeper I got into these woods, the greater the number of trees that had not been cared for by the park staff. But that will come. Walkers walking the trails will alert the staff, and chainsaws will roar.
The pond, like most in the region, was frozen. But, like many others nearby, it has that wonderment-inspiring arrangment of deep-set rock sloping directly to the water's edge and beyond. I always imagine our Wampanoags of old on these spots, long before Europeans ran over the landscape. They seem to be natural points of entry to the bounty of the water, nature's welcome mats. Deeper on the trail I noted an old foundation surrounded by the remains of ancient fruit trees. The owners were serious about their fruit. The stonewalls here had added security, wooden posts sticking out of the top that once held wire of some sort. No deer were supposed to get through to the apples, at least if the fence had anything to say about it.
On the last leg of the trail I made a gruesome discovery, a kill site. A hawk or an owl had finished off what might have been either a tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee or a white-breasted nuthatch, judging by the explosion of gray, white and tan feathers on the trail.
My last sighting, though, was a much cheerier one. My first chipmunk of the year - it was mine for just that moment, and then I returned it to the woods and its regularly scheduled life -scurried along a stonewall.
Ahh, spring. You can't hide from us forever.
Time: 94 minutes.
New species: Eastern chimpunk (11).
Stranger hellos: 2 (122).
And the rest of the day: Started reading Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing; wrote an article for the Hull Times; prepared Wreck & Rescue Journal for mailing; more nonprofit work.