Pondicherry Park Ponderings

I slipped into Pondicherry Park late this afternoon, my heart and mind heavy with thoughts of so many friends who have suffered in recent months.

In the quiet of this place, I recalled that a wise man once told me nature is a window on the world. (RIP: Bishop John–you are missed, but still with us)

I’m not sure that what I’m about to share is exactly what he had in mind, but nevertheless, this is how it looked to me today.

jigsaw puzzle

Life is a jigsaw puzzle and sometimes it seems that the pieces fit perfectly, while other times we try so hard to make them work together.

digging for answers

Always, we dig for answers.

be sensitive

Being sensitive to the needs of others and ourselves is key.

diamonds in the rough

Some moments (or hours or days or weeks) are diamonds in the rough–we just have to look for the glint.

interrupted plans

Interrupted plans are perhaps meant to give us time to pause and reconsider.

bittersweet tangles

Though it’s difficult to reconsider when the tangles are bittersweet . . .

forever scarred by the experience

and we know we’ll be forever scarred.

make the most of what life gives you

Sometimes we have to try our darnedest to make the most of what life gives us.

resilient tree 1 resilient tree 2 resilient tree 4

And be like this resilient tree that continues to grow despite the obstacles it met along the way.

unexpected growthsuse and abuse--I'm an OK leaf

There will always be unexpected forces at work that we can’t prevent.

sometimes the path is straight

We’d like to follow a straight and even path, but . . .

path changes texture

the texture may change and . . .

sometimes there's a new path to follow, not completely defined

there will be a new path to follow, not completely defined.

when life gives you stones, make stonewalls

When life gives us stones, we should build stonewalls.

displays of beauty 1

And cherish beautiful moments, no matter how small.

display of beauty 2

display of beauty 3

display of beauty 5

displays of beauty 4

things burrow their way under our skin

We need to let the moments when things burrow under our skin

water over the dam

wash away like water over the dam.

bridging the layers

The layers of life will forever keep us wondering.

sometimes even the stones speak--enjoy

Our best bet, listen to what the stone says.

To Old City and Back

Leaving camp

From camp. To Old City. Bridgton to Sweden. Via Moose Pond.

Toward Black Mtn

The temp was about 40 degrees, but with the brilliant sunshine, it felt even warmer. We reminisced about kayaking and rowing as we headed north on the pond.

Mink 1

Beside one of the islands, a mink had made numerous trails and holes.

Mink 2

I love it when a critter behaves like it’s supposed to. In this case, the prints are on the slant that the weasel family is known for. A mink is a small mammal with a long body and short legs. It has partially-webbed feet, an adaptation to a near-aquatic habitat. A few years ago, an acquaintance and I were helping with the Moose Pond watershed survey. We were sitting on some rocks by the shore, with a dock in front of us, as we jotted down notes. Much to our surprise, a mink came up from under the rocks by the dock. We starred at it, it starred at us. We had cameras. Did we take a photo? Nope. Another one for the mind’s eye.

Mink3

Bound and slide. Like otters. I still want to be an otter in my next life, but minks do have fun too.

following tracks

Tracks tell the story about behavior, but it’s often a guessing game. I think I got this one right. Homo sapiens. Male. About 6 feet tall. Handsome. Puts up with a lot.

finding a seat

He borrowed a resting spot while I examined those mink tracks and holes. There were tons of holes.

on the trail

At the northernmost end of the pond, we followed the snowmobile trail toward Old City. Today it’s a wooded snowmobile trail around the base of Black Mountain in Sweden, Maine, but during the 19th century a road passed by at least six homesteads. All were reportedly occupied by young men who chose not to live at home–perhaps increasing their status as eligible bachelors. Their names included Cushman, Farrington and Eastman, among others–names long associated with Sweden and Lovell. (Sweden was originally part of Lovell)

foundation

The area was abandoned at some point after the Civil War, but foundations like this one remain. This may have belonged to P. Farrington or J. Edgecomb, but I’m thrown off because it occurs on the wrong side of the current “road.” That doesn’t mean the road was originally in the same spot.

stone walls

Stone walls, like this one near the I. Eastman property, formed boundaries to keep animals in or out. I suspect this guy was a major landowner.

stone wall 2

I’m fascinated by stone walls. Not only are they beautiful and functional, but they also represent a tremendous amount of labor. And the stones have their own story to tell about the lay of our land in New England.

color in the woods

I’d been looking at tracks, trees (always looking for bear claw marks on beech trees and quizzing myself on bark) and stones. On the way back, this touch of color caught my eye. Red Pine bark is among my favorites. Then again, I haven’t meet a tree I didn’t like. And the contrast with the hemlock needles, beech leaves and touch of blue sky gave me pause.

vine?

This also caught my eye. Last fall, a friend had sent me a photo of a beech tree with a similar case of strange scars. I didn’t know what it was, so I sent it on to a forester I know. He sent it on to someone in the invasive insect department at the state level. It all boiled down to what they thought was wounds from bittersweet vine being wrapped around the tree at one time.

vine 2

That made sense then. Today, I dunno. As I looked around, I noticed the same phenomenon on other beech trees. But I didn’t see any evidence of vines nearby. Of course, there’s still a lot of snow on the ground, as my guy can tell you since he chose not to wear snowshoes. The area had been logged at some point. But, I’m just not sure.

heading back to camp

Back on the pond and heading toward Bridgton and camp. Shawnee Peak and Pleasant Mountain provide the perfect backdrop. Yesterday, my guy took one of our grand-nephews for another ski lesson. The young’un skied straight over moguls on the Pine, slipped off the trail into the woods several times and fell a kazillion times. On the ride home this tired seven-year-old said that his younger brother probably spent the day playing Xbox. When asked if he wished he’d done the same, he remarked, “No, this was the most fun day I’ve ever had in my ENTIRE life.” I can hear my mother-in-law guffawing in heaven. 🙂

islands and mountain

Only another mile to go before we rest. Thanks for wondering along with us on today’s wander.