How many people can travel a familiar route for the first time every time? I know I can.
And so it was this morning when I ventured to the Greater Lovell Land Trust’s Kezar River Reserve off Route 5 in Lovell. I went with a few expectations, but nature got in the way, slowed me down and gave me reason to pause and ponder–repeatedly.
As I walked along the trail above the Kezar River, I spied numerous oak apple galls on the ground. And many didn’t have any holes. Was the wasp larvae still inside?
While the dots on the gall were reddish brown, the partridgeberry’s oval drupes shone in Christmas-red fashion. I’m always awed by this simple fruit that results from a complex marriage–the fusion of pollinated ovaries of paired flowers. Do you see the two dimples? That’s where the flowers were attached. Two became one. How did they do this?
After walking along the first leg of the trail, I headed down the “road” toward the canoe launch. And what to my wondering eyes should appear–fairy homes. Okay–true confession: As a conclusion to GLLT’s nature program for the Lovell Recreation Program this summer, the kids, their day camp counselors and our interns and docents created these homes.
I was impressed that the disco ball still hangs in the entrance of this one. Do you see it? It just happens to be an oak apple gall. Creative kids. I do hope they’ve dropped by with their parents to check on the shelters they built.
And then I reached the launch site and bench. It’s the perfect spot to sit, watch and listen. So I did. The bluejays kekonked, nuthatches yanked and kingfishers rattled.
A gentle breeze danced through the leaves and offered a ripply reflection.
And I . . . I awaited great revelations that did not come. Or did they? Was my mind open enough to receive? To contemplate the mysteries of life? The connections? The interactions?
At last, I moved on and entered a section that is said to be uncommon in our area: headwall erosion. This is one of five ravines that feature deep v-shaped structures. Underground streams passing through have eroded the banks. It’s a special place that invites further contemplation. And exploration.
One of my favorite wonders on the bit of stream that trickled through–water striders. While they appeared to skate on the surface, they actually took advantage of water tension making it look like they walked on top as they feasted on insects and larvae that I could not see.
Lots of turtle signs also decorated the trail. Literally.
In fact, I found bear sign,
and lady’s slipper sign . . . among others. Local students painted the signs and it’s a fun and artistic addition to the reserve.
Of course, there was natural sign to notice as well, including a blue jay feather.
Asters and goldenrods offered occasional floral decorations.
And hobblebush berries begged to be noticed.
And then a meadowhawk dragonfly captured my attention. I stood and watched for moments on end.
And noted that the red maples offered similar colors.
When I reached the canoe launch “road,” I was scolded for my action.
Despite that, I returned to the bench overlooking the mill pond on the river. Rather than sit on the bench this time, I slipped down an otter slide to the water’s edge.
My efforts were rewarded. Frogs jumped. And a few paused–probably hoping that in their stillness I would not see them. But I did . . . including this green frog.
My favorite wonder of the day . . .
moments spent up close and personal with another meadowhawk.
No matter how often I wander a trail, there’s always something, or better yet, many somethings, to notice. Blessed be for so many opportunities to wonder beside the Kezar River.