Summer Challenge: South Colwell Pond and Black Dune Wetlands

Published August 5, 2014 by Susan Woodward

“What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the schoolhouse, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water, and sends out its roots in that direction” (Thoreau, “Solitude”, Walden).

After being serenaded by the melodious waves on the shores of Mexico Point, I decided to seek out what other songs the lake might wish to sing to me. I peeked at my map of the area and found a large inlet up near the Jefferson County line and decided to explore.

I meandered for a bit on the pretty drive along Route 3, turning in here and there to see what I could see. It wasn’t till I got to the Black Dune Wetlands along South Colwell Pond that I decided to get out and explore. I found a trail in the woods and could not believe how lush the color was.

Green CarpetEverywhere I looked seemed to be carpeted with soft green leaves.

Fern GullyThe further I walked into the woods, the more dense the carpet became. The short green foliage morphed into a shag carpet of ferns. I tried to be so quiet as I walked because I felt like an intruder. Even so, I accidentally spooked a family of deer out of their resting place. All I saw was a flash of brown movement followed by four white flags disappearing into the distance.

I continued for a bit until the ground became to wet to continue walking comfortably in the woods. No wonder everything seemed so lush…the plants had plenty of water to keep them going!

As I exited the wooded area, it seemed that Mother Nature felt that the wetlands were in need of more watering. The rains came down, and so I headed back to the shelter of my cabin to spend the remainder of the day with my books.

“A single gentle rain  makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we live in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us” (Thoreau, “Spring”, Walden).

Instead of waves singing to me that afternoon, it was the patter song of raindrops dancing on the roof. Quite often when I was reading, I paused to lay the book on my chest just to listen to the rhythm of the rain. My heart swelled with gratitude as I simply closed my eyes, listened, and reveled in the present moment. For those moments, I was not bombarded with the sensory overload that is so common to us in this modern world of ring tones, buzzes, dings, vibrations, and the need to be available to the entire world 24/7. While some criticized me for keeping my phone on and actually using it in the evenings to upload pictures, the act of deciding which pictures I wanted to share and tagging their location helped solidify the experiences in my memory. How quickly, in our sensory overloaded lives, do our memories lose their retention as one experience melds into the next…rush, rush, rush turns the brain to mush, mush, mush. I didn’t want to take the chance of having these wonderful relaxing experiences fade away as soon as I left the woods and went home to prepare to return to work. The electronic gizmo will help with retaining this sense of relaxation as I can visit and re-visit what I have photographed and what I have written.

I can return to the woods in my mind…

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 0.63mi, time: 18:16, pace: 28:59min/mi, speed: 2.07mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/677215469

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