, Newburyport, MA


December 7, 2012

Newbury trail suffered from storm's wrath


The hill has its regulars - those with dogs to walk being most among them, but it’s also an attraction for those from away. Some are acquainted with the remarkable undertaking of the Trustees of Reservations - a national treasure of world renown.

I hadn’t taken the Southwesterly path for some time. It rises briefly from the gate and drops down toward the marsh before beginning its rise to the top of the hill, and I slow my pace after making the turn at the beginning of the climb.

I stopped at about a third of the way near the entrance to the hay field, the smaller of the two the Trustees harvest, role wrap, and store along the borders of the large Newman Road field.

Their gradual departure will mark Winter’s passing.

I made welcome use of the hill top bench before my quick descent down the Southeasterly path to Newman Road where I found the couple I had previously met, told them of the eastern most Little River trail I had not traveled for much too long, and invited them to join me.

They did, but so much for showing off my local knowledge.

The same great surprise blow of a northeast gale of two years past that had wreaked its havoc of the hill top had also made its force felt along what had become the extended foot trail leading westerly along Little River’s northern bank, and we found ourselves picking our way through brush, brambles, and deadfalls back to Newman Road.

That’s a loss that only time and effort will restore, but it’s much too central to nature’s calling to be left as it is.

As for the weather, I don’t expect many December days like that of Monday. For that matter, I don’t expect a winter like the almost snowless one we had last year.

Quill’s Pond is shrunken to a viewable bottom, and the leaves fell in an undisturbed circle at the bases of our trees.

Look for snow. We’re overdue.

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.

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