Sunday, October 22, 2017

A poem I stumbled over

You Reading This, Be Ready

 Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life -

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

-- William Stafford

Sunday, October 08, 2017

An Adirondack adventure a mile from home

Just a mile east of us - on the right in the map below - is Round Pond, a smaller, wilder version of our own Reservoir.

There are trails through the woods in the State land nearby, which borders the pond on one side - but as you can see from the map, the open water is surrounded by wetlands that make it impossible to walk to the water's edge.  We were hiking on one of the trails the other day, peering through the reeds and overgrowth to try to get a glimpse of the water, when we discovered a half-built wooden structure at the edge of the wetlands. It turns out that it's going to be an elevated wildlife viewing platform overlooking the wetlands.  Pretty cool! DEC also plans to improve some of the trails in the area so there will be short loop hikes nearby.

We interrupted a bike ride yesterday to check out the building progress (not done yet), poked around and realized that it would be possible to get a canoe into open water in the wetlands and from there, paddle to the pond. We pedaled home, got the canoe (well, Dad dragged it up from the lakeside and loaded it into the truck, with some feeble help from me) and did just that. It turns out that there's a little patch of wild Adirondacks right up the road.

This is the water path through the wetlands near the road.

 If you enlarge the picture below, you can spot the half-built viewing platform - a little pale rectangle on the edge of the woods toward the left edge of the photo. It'll be 14 feet off the ground with what should be a great view of the wetlands and the open water.
The southern edge of the pond, with something like cattails going to seed, and strange skinny evergreens emerging from the marshy (peat-y, maybe?) surrounding wetlands.
The pond itself, much bigger than it looks on the map.

So wild and peaceful under the blue October sky. We saw almost no birds, except for a pair of pale, speckled ducks or rails or something that flew off, startled, before we could quite see what they were. But here and there, almost hidden in the reeds and boggy shrubs, we found wild cranberries! Only a few - they were hard to spot - but if I get a chance I'm going back to see if I can gather enough for Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.  It was a lovely unexpected adventure on a Saturday afternoon, and a treasure to discover so close to home.