Archive for June, 2019

Jun 12 2019

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A Glorious Time of Year

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After an unusually cool rainy spring, the past few days have come as a welcome reprieve. Finally we’re getting into sunshine with temps shooting into the 80s. That’s high summer by Vermont standards, but who’s knocking it? Put those flannel shirts away!

Green vegetation wherever you look, and a dreamy breeze. Add to that wildflowers blooming in fallow fields along with lilies, irises and other showy flowers in cultivated places and, well, it’s a glorious time of year. “Days of heaven,” I like to call it, when just walking around the neighborhood, lounging on the porch, or sitting at an open-window cafe is enough to make a person feel good about the world.

At this latitude, roughly 45 degrees, the days are delightfully long this time of year. Factor in the lingering twilight and it’s hard to stay awake for it all. People like me, who suffer through the dark days around the Winter Solstice, are energized by the approaching Summer Solstice. I become absurdly upbeat as a consequence of it. Every day, it seems, is a good day.

Soon I’ll be on the trail again, hiking for days on end as if nothing else matters. Oh sure, the bloodsucking bugs are out but I don’t care. Their bites are a small price to pay for the wonder and beauty of The Northern Forest in June. Like I said, I’m absurdly upbeat this time of year. And these long, magnificent days are too precious to waste.


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Jun 02 2019

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Coastal Forest

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Once again my wife felt the need to visit the seashore so we headed for the Maine coast early last week. With temps in the 50s, a chilling breeze and rain every day, it wasn’t weather for lounging on the beach. All the same, Judy got her ocean fix during a few shoreline walks, and I had plenty of opportunity to hike early in the morning while she was still sleeping. My best hike took place on the last day.

I drove over to Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and meandered through forest and meadow just as a thick morning fog was burning off. I got there early enough to have the place all to myself – just me and the mosquitoes, I should say. With all the rain we’ve had lately, it’s been a banner year for them. No matter. As long as I kept moving, they didn’t bother me much.

Bunchberry, starflower and several other wildflowers were in bloom despite the closing of the canopy overhead. The many ferns in the surrounding understory were that vibrant vernal green that also brightens the leaves of the birches, maples and other trees. Coast, mountain or anything between, I love that green. And I love this time of year because of it.

I hiked the perimeter trail as it ran along the estuary then veered back into the woods. I particularly enjoyed the rather lengthy boardwalk cutting across a wooded wetland covered in sphagnum moss and other wet-loving vegetation. I’m not a big one for elaborate trail work, but in particularly damp places like this it minimizes impact and makes walking nearly effortless.

I feel more at home in the mountains, really, but anywhere a forest grows is a good place to be by my way of reckoning. With all the development along the southern Maine coast, I’m glad that some of its natural beauty has been preserved – estuary, wetland and forest as well as shoreline. All this complements the magnificent ocean view. We are enriched by it. We are enriched by all things that we are able to appreciate.

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