May 09, 2023

Things are definitely getting greener.


The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

Gang aft agley…

-Robert Burns


I was hoping to post about the first leg of our New England Trail trek this week, but, alas, it is not to be.  Not yet, anyway.  Christine, Phyllis, Waldo and I were all set to go this morning.  We’d made our plans, knew where to meet and where to leave our cars, but then, at the last minute, we decided to delay it a week or so.  I am hopeful we will still venture into the Connecticut woods before it gets too hot, but I don’t know when.

Instead, Waldo and I are back on the rail-trail.  And what a beautiful day!  The temperature is 73℉, the sky is mostly sunny, and there is a mild breeze blowing through the trees and over the fields.  The past few days have been shirtsleeve weather and the plants have noticed.  Well, maybe they haven’t noticed that I and many of my co-venturers on the trail are without jackets, but they certainly are aware of the longer hours of daylight and the warm weather.  Many species of trees have started to bud, Norway maples, silver maples and paradise apples, just to name a few.  Pussy willows show off their balls of cotton, garlic mustard grows everywhere with big leaves, multiflora rose stems have greened out (with a red tinge), Morrow’s honeysuckle has leaves as does the weeping forsythia.  The many species of grass are greener and moss is thick and fuzzy.  It won’t be too many more weeks and the Japanese knotweed will be standing eight feet tall and the verdure will be so dense that I won’t be able to see more than a few tens of feet off the trail.

The forecast for the next two days has high temps of 86℉!  Of course, that means that Waldo and I will have to start walking in the morning, instead of the afternoon, as we are now.  But we won’t yet have to get up before dawn.  If we rise at 7 AM, we’ll have plenty of time to do our walk before it gets over 75℉.  It will mean getting out of bed earlier than I have been – I might as well get used to it.  Summer will be upon us in just a few weeks and I won’t have a choice.

Waldo doesn’t mind getting up early. He’s always anxious to get outside as soon as he can.  As soon as he sees me stirring under the covers, he’s up and sitting by the door, ready to go.  I think he only has an on/off button, with no rate control.  He’s up and he’s going full throttle.   Much of his frenetic puppiness is gone, but he still hits the ground running when he starts the day.

Today, though, we’re out here in the midafternoon.  It’s Wednesday, but even so, there are many people of all ages out here.  There are people of all different states of physical shape too.  Some are older than I am and doddering along.  Some are in wheelchairs, pushed along by family.  Some are teenagers, running with a local high school cross-country team.  Some are grossly overweight and some are much fitter than I’ve ever been, running at a pace I couldn’t compete with when I was in my prime.  Warm weather, after a cold spell, will cause all sorts of people to show up here.

There are dogs, and bicycles, and roller blades, and skate boards, and scooters, and electric monocycles, and baby buggies out here too.  There’s a plethora of wheeled vehicles on the tarmac.  I never knew that rail-trails were so popular until I started using one on a regular basis.  I still wonder if the popularity isn’t a hangover of the COVID lockdown, but whatever it is that brings people out here is a good thing.  Spring not only brings forth foliation and eruptions of floral gaudiness, it also entices humans of all varieties to come out and enjoy simple acts of traveling through nature.

Waldo stops and says hello to people and dogs as we pass them, as do I.  Waldo gets his due of pets and pats, gives as good as he gets with tail-wags and licks and, with other dogs, exchanges sniffs and dances.  With the people, I trade observations and appreciation of the weather and any other pleasantries that come to mind.  It’s a social event, but one sort of like speed dating — of short duration and constantly flowing from person to person.

Today was not going as planned.  Instead, Waldo and I resorted to our routine.

But that’s not a bad thing at all.


The horizon is taking on a pale green tinge to its undulating austere gray.

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