January 12, 2021

In the Highland Street Forest.


I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

-Susan Sontag


Waldo and I, we love our little rail trail.  But there are so many other places to walk.  Phyllis lives in Weston and has told us about the trails around where she lives.  Today, we tread on paths we have not yet wandered down.  It will be an adventure of exploration.

We start at Phyllis’s house and walk down unpaved footpaths that border the nearby streets until we get to the Highland Street Forest, which abuts the grounds of Regis College.  Many paths wander under the bare trees, winding along amongst the oaks and maples like noodles in a bowl of spaghetti.  It’s been a little while since Phyllis has explored in here and she’s forgotten its wiles and ways, but she has a map we can follow.  That isn’t as easy as you might think, because for a map to be useful, you have to know where you are on it.  The place is thick enough with tree trunks, branches and denuded brush that you can’t see very far to get a clue.  But, on the other hand, it isn’t so big that if we get lost, we would be in a bad way.  We could just walk along any path and, sooner or later, we would wander out of the forest and onto the surrounding streets where we could orient ourselves.  It’s an opportunity to exercise our scouting talents and I kind of like that.  Besides, wandering around without a clue as to where you are or where you’re going has a certain charm to it, you know?  Kinda reminds me of life.

Waldo, he’s having a grand old time, sniffing about, wandering along, exploring the off-path country, as the three of us humans are trying to figure out which track we should follow.  He doesn’t care about the destination on the large scale, he’s too busy learning about what is right in front of his nose.  Besides, for Waldo, the destination is not something that holds much value.  After all, arriving at journey’s end means a good walk is over and I’ve never seen him eager for that.  I’m sure, too, he is quite confident that when it’s time to eat and go to bed, he will be in a nice warm comfortable place.  He doesn’t know how that comes about, but history would tell him that it always ends up that way.

It’s cool out and, as we walk on the leaf-covered ground on tracks not much wider than what a single person needs to navigate through nature’s arboretum, we snuggle more tightly in our jackets.  It’s a perfect temperature for Waldo.  Our footfalls drop hollow on the ground, as if we were walking over a deep cavern.  I’m guessing the sound and sensation are caused by the soil being raised by an extensive system of roots that leaves many gaps in the subterranean dirt.  At any rate, it sounds like we’re walking on a ripe watermelon.  We come to the intersection of other trails and arbitrarily choose a way to go.  We pass a few other people coming through the woods.  It’s not clear as to whether they are as lost as we are – another apt metaphor for life, I think.  After a bit, though, we decide we should figure out where we are, because we want to go on to the Weston Reservoir, just so we can explore more trails, and we have to figure out how to get there.  So, I cheat and pull out my iPhone.  It seems we’ve come around in almost in a full circle, so we readjust our route and leave the forest.

There’s an aqueduct that leads the way to the reservoir, and the area is advertised to be “dog friendly.”  This appears to be akin to providing a bright light for moths because there are a lot of dogs out here.  Some are off leash and all seem to be friendly enough.  With every one we meet, Waldo does a perfunctory hello-dance, waggling his butt and tail about and approaching in a submissive posture.  He’s then off to the next interesting thing, as if saying to himself, “been there, done that.”

We get to the reservoir and walk around it in a large loop; it’s about a mile in circumference and fenced in.  The lake is still and serene.  The shores are pristine — in some places rocky, in others plant life wades in at the edges of the clear blue water.  By the time we’re all the way around, the sun is set.  We follow the city streets back to Phyllis’s house and it’s dark.  All in all, it as been a pleasant winter’s trek.

But then, they all have been.


The Weston Reservoir, through the fence.

1 comment

Cousin Beth

I look forward every Tuesday to your treks! I like your writing and comments about life! I can’t imagine walking all around that lake! Take care!! Beth

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