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On The Trail

On the Trail: Summer mode

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It started early last week with a startling sound, an invisible burst of energy, a rumble in the jungle, a rustling, brush- and stick-busting sprint by something near and heavy fleeing up the escarpment from a narrow wetland framing the northwestern perimeter of Sunken Meadow. It was a Tuesday morning and the dogs and I were working our way around a large sumac tree poking prostrate out into the second … 0

On The Trail: Oxbow summit

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It’s a hot, hazy mid-afternoon, storm threatening, me standing atop Mt. Sugarloaf, a Pioneer Valley landmark whose summit view never gets old to an old guy who climbed it often as a kid. Standing beside me on the lower tier of the observation tower is Dr. Marjorie Holland, a scholar passing through old haunts from her current Ole Miss station, where she teaches … 0

On The Trail: Slowdown

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The summer solstice has passed, gentle summer breezes are intermittently dislodging small white mock orange flower petals and dropping them to the ground by the bulkhead, the Connecticut River temperature had passed 70 degrees, and the American shad run is, for all intents and purposes, over. Although it has been many years since I’ve been down to the water’s edge to witness the … 0

On the trail: Shell, stone

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The loud, sudden, crunching, crashing halt to a power mower’s roar — a sound you’d hate to hear when mowing your lawn — and a maiden voyage to the top of a familiar Pioneer Valley landmark are on the front burner of discussion this week. First, the grinding, … 1

On the trail: Mystery solved

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks. I again learned that lesson the hard way. The latest caper began with a lazy, unfortunate fact-checking mistake in a cutline I wrote three weeks ago. Or perhaps it wasn’t laziness at all, but rather just an innocent, misguided … 0

On The Trail: Spring hothouse

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hectic week, saturating overnight rains that were torrential at times, backyard brook roiled to a soothing roar. Although it may be impossible, I suspect the upper hayfields I walk each day grew eight inches in a day, downpours soaking our fertile, engorged Earth Mother, pushing seed heads toward … 0

On the Trail: Meadow mayhem

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I suppose it would have represented unavoidable carnage to most observers. Yes, just another pathetic victim of the modern, mechanized world. But to me, the mangled painted turtle said much more, some of it unprintable in old-fashioned news. … 1

On The Trail: Skirting issues

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another week, new impetus, birds still at the fore. That time of year, I guess: nesting season. What crossed my daily path this time, on a bright, sunny, Wednesday morning, a cool, gentle, westerly breeze keeping my brow … 0

On The Trail: Birdie babel

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Birds are in my brain as I sit here today to hammer out this weekly chore. So, yes, it’s birds I plan to discuss, always battling those persistent Satanic urges to wander off into the perilous terrain of sensitive topics, which it seems to me readers prefer. As … 0

On the Trail: Living proof

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Observations. They jolt me, jostle me, spin my wheels awhirl, often propelling me off to the most unusual and unlikely places, real and imagined. With devilish spring air tickling my lungs, there has been much visual impetus this past week as the sympathy cards, emails and phone calls … 0

On the Trail: Rynie’s song

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Small table-top urns, two of them, showed up recently on my cluttered library’s desk — one blue, the other gold, matching my late sons’ eyes. My wife placed the decorative little canisters there, probably as a shrine. I … 0

On The Trail: Dire straits

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It is with heavy heart that I sit in this comfortable, cushioned seat today, cranking out another column, a weekly chore performed for most of my waning 35-year Recorder career. Many things, some I can’t get into but would love to, are distracting my focus, potentially threatening my … 0

On the Trail: Dysfunction junction

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Yes, it was indeed April Fools Day, but it was no spoof. Finally, spring had sprung, and the cock cardinal sitting in the burning bush off the inset porch was announcing it to the neighborhood, his joyous morning melody brightening the clear, pleasant air before fading off into … 0

On the Trail: Cougar leftovers

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The brook’s rattling, snaking its way through dwindling streamside ice shelves, the once-bloated woodshed is emptying, the end in sight, my taxes are e-filed, and, well, I guess life is good, notwithstanding Spring Sports Supplement week, which always unleashes a furious scramble before the first “Play ball!” echoes … 1

On The Trail: Denial games

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I’m not certain whether the short introductory note topping an email sent my way this week was fueled by exuberance, defiance or relief. Then again, does it really matter? Let’s just call enthusiastic cougar-researcher Ray Weber triumphant indeed. … 0