May 21, 2024

Ther are places where you have to be careful what you say…



Whose woods these are I do not know.

I’m so happy that I’m here, though.

Sunlight bathes us in golden hue

And I can watch the green things grow.

-Riff on “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost


There is one piece of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail that Waldo and I have not yet walked.  It’s about four miles long and runs from Concord to Sudbury, terminating where the railroad bed crosses the Mass Central Rail Trail.  We could wait until Phyllis is available to join us, or we could walk this one last piece by ourselves and repeat the nine miles from Acton to Sudbury.  We decide on the latter.  Waldo does need his exercise and we’ve been spoiled by, at least occasionally, venturing out into new territory to get it done.

We park at the Lotus Blossom again and head west on the Mass Central Rail Trail.  This will add about 0.6 miles to our roundtrip journey for a total of 8.6 miles.  Not bad at all.  The day is warm, with temps of 63℉ and the skies are sunny and clear.   A light breeze makes it feel a bit coolish, but I get by in shirtsleeves just the same.  Waldo leaves the car and hits the ground in eager anticipation of the trail to come.

The Mass Central Rail Trail is still incomplete where we start and has standing water trapped in deep ruts, but it’s all easy to negotiate.  Waldo isn’t phased at all and has no problem plodding through the gook.  I can avoid the worst of it without collecting too much mud between the waffles of my boot soles.

We cross Union Ave and I know the intersection of the two trails is nearby – somewhere.  I’m on the lookout for a dumpster or garbage can so I can reposit Waldo’s deposit that I’m carrying.  I find one and deviate from our path to get the job done, then rejoin the trail.  After a half mile going further west, I know I’ve missed our goal and turn around.  Sure enough, backtracking about a half mile, there it is.  Pavement meets mud.  I have no idea how I missed it, even if my attention was elsewhere, looking for a repository.  That diversion will make todays walk 9.5 miles long, but that’s still well within parameters.  It’s something we’re used to; we don’t get lost, we just wander a bit.

We turn north and in a short distance pass by a huge nursery – Carvicchio Greenhouses.  Rows upon rows of small pots, holding some green plant or other, lay out in the sunlight, waiting to be planted somewhere else.  The place has many acres and seems to offer a large variety of species.  I’m told they supply landscapers with trees, bushes and flowers.

Less than a half-mile later, we’re crossing a bridge bounded on both sides by a chest high wooden rail fence.  Between the fences is a hurricane gate chained to the wooden rails of the fence.  There is a space between the gate and the fence for Waldo to easily pass, but not me.  There are people on both sides of the gate walking and biking and I see no reason for the gate to be there.  Waldo squeezes through the gap and I climb over the fence, go past the gate, then climb over the fence again on the other side of the gate.  We recognize no obstacles – just speed bumps and go arounds.  We continue on our way.

From now on, until we turn around at North Road, we are in deep forest.  The oaks and maples are still just sticks without leaves, but there are plenty of white pines too.  There are bushes with sprouted leaves and swaths of large green-leafed skunk cabbage or bitter dock (I can’t tell which) in the low swampy places.  Birds are out and singing in the breeze, and even a few bugs, but no mosquitoes.  I find it a happy place.  Forests generally make me feel more peaceful and relaxed.  I know I’m not alone in this.  Some people have suggested that sense of well being is a consequence of species memory – it’s built into our DNA.  Our long-ago arboreal ancestors would find standing trees a sanctuary, a safe place.  It’s proposed that even once our ancestors went from tree to savannah, they still preferred to be near a copse of trees just in case they found themselves chased by a predator.  Whatever the reason, I feel comforted being swaddled in a blanket of Mother Nature.

When we get back to the car, we’re tired.  Even Waldo is anxious to get into the passenger seat and curl up.  Of course, that won’t last long for him.  Some water, dinner and a short rest and he’ll be ready to go again.  Me, I’m done for the day.

But we’ve completed yet another trail.


The trail passes through some beautiful forests.


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