Mondate Circle

Today’s Mondate found us circling Holt Pond–on a reconnaissance mission for a section of the trail that we maintain for the Lakes Environmental Association, but also because we just happen to love this tucked-away space. It’s one of those places where we appreciate the constant change in community and feel completely removed from civilization–maybe because we don’t often see others here.

And yet, today, as we walked down “tire alley,” a woman at the far end called to us–by name. Here’s to you, Earlene, for recognizing us. Earlene and I first met almost a year ago on this very trail. I was exploring with some folks from LEA and she was on her own–as is her nature (my kind of nature). I can’t remember what she said, but somehow we made a connection based on this very blog. The fact that our paths have actually crossed a couple of times since then should mean that we need to spend some time together.

h-boardwalk 1

My guy and I followed the boardwalk through the red maple swamps.

h-boardwalk muddy

Our first pause–beside the Muddy River, where the water was high.

h-boardwalk muddy river:beavers

Beaver chews decorated the end of the walk.

h-muddy river

Looking east, we could see the lodge in the distance on the far side of the river, with fresh wood work standing out atop it.

h-muddy to holt

And to the west, the river flowing out of the pond.

h-boardwalk 3

We continued on, wondering how far we’d get, given the amount of water.

h-boardwalk quaking bog

And then it was out to the quaking bog, where we were stopped in our tracks.

h-sawyer brook

Crossing Sawyer Brook, we were struck by the lushness of life.

h-contemplating bridges

We conquered all of the boardwalks, though occasionally we had to pick our way through. As we continued on, our mosey included moments of contemplation as my guy considered bridges we need to construct over some wet spots on the Southwest Shore Trail.


Our section of trail ends at the old log landing, where we noted the circle of life in the form of succession as the white pines and hemlocks begin to fill in the space.

h-view from southshore trail

From the southwestern shore, we looked back toward the Muddy River and listened to Canada geese that we never spied.

h-view from southeast

Eventually, we’d circled around to the southeast shore, with a view of Five Fields Farm in the distance.

h-view from snowmobile trail

The wind had increased and the pond reflected its movement.

h-view emerald field

We crossed the Emerald Field and made our way back into the Preserve.

h-view beaver 2

Having circled about, three hours later we were once again beside the Muddy River, downstream from the beaver lodge we’d spied earlier, and looking at a mighty fine dam.

h-horsetail 1

Along the way we noticed that we weren’t the only ones circling about.


And sometimes a breakthrough was necessary for life to continue.

h-red maple bark

The potential to hit the bull’s eye was a frequent occurrence.

h-pileated scat 1

And even scat (ah, my fav) demonstrated the circular theme. (If you dare to look closely, do  you see the ant body parts in the pileated woodpecker scat?)


Circled by its traditional leaves of three, painted trillium wasn’t yet ready to show its beautiful face.


But my favorite circles of all right now–fern crosiers. And Earlene–I wasn’t sure what you were talking about when you mentioned the red ferns. I believe I said grape fern, which turns a reddish shade in winter. But even as I said that, I couldn’t remember ever seeing it here. Moments after we chatted with you, however, I knew what you meant–sensitive fern.

h-cinnamon 2

I hope that I’ll be forever in awe of the hairy sheath that envelops cinnamon fern crosiers

h-cinnamon 1

and the life embraced within.

h-Christmas 1

My newest discovery this past week is the Christmas fern crosier. Wrapped in satiny fur, the young frond encompasses life as it prepares to unroll. The more I get to know each species as a crosier, the more obvious they become.

I’m thankful that not only did we circle Holt Pond on today’s Mondate, but we also noticed the circle of life that surrounded us.





6 thoughts on “Mondate Circle

  1. do have your macro back!

    How many times must the cannonballs fly before they’re forever banned? Bob Dylan

    Sent from my iPad


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