On The Trail

On The Trail: Live & learn

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

March is near, the deep-freeze just won’t let leave, and I’m dry-docked, thinking about place — my place and that of my ancestors, the one I chose not to leave and continue to learn about by the day, the month, the year, and when things get really exciting, by the very minute. It all started as a young South Deerfield lad following frozen Bloody Brook on skates, a human snowplow … 0

On The Trail: The key factor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Isn’t it refreshing to discover that indeed an old dog can learn new tricks? I rode just such an updraft earlier this week while reading with interest a fascinating R. Dale Guthrie book titled “The Nature of Paleolithic Art” — cutting-edge analysis of deep-history art forms, such as but not limited to cave drawings and decorative, symbolic carvings on bone and stone tools … 0

On the Trail: Snowed in

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More than a month, now, sleeping in a La-Z-Boy recliner, and the winter doldrums have set in. I’ll get through it. Always have. So why dwell on it? Which brings me to an interesting development brought by unexpected visitors. They left their tracks overnight Tuesday along the wide path my snowblower cleared to the backyard kennel and beyond, along frozen, snow-covered Hinsdale Brook’s … 0

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 … 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, … 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 … 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