On The Trail

On The Trail: Hermit tales

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mention in last week’s “Fish tales” column of a haggard roadside hermit familiar to travelers earlier in my lifetime along Route 5 and 10 between Greenfield and South Deerfield drew additional anecdotal information from near and far that’s worth reporting. The feedback started right off last Thursday morning, when waiting for me on my first email adventure was a comment from an angler who, like me, fished a section of Mill River containing the site of Deerfield’s first grist mill (1693) on Sawmill Plain, not far from Pekarski’s Sausage on Route 116. He said he, too, always did his best to skirt that peculiar roadside recluse who lived just downstream. The note came from Michigan, … 0

On The Trail: Fish tales

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The cardinals have been singing their happy song this week, brightening my outdoor morning chores with the dogs as the snow cover shrinks. Who knows? Perhaps those beautiful red birds, too, can hear the brook gurgling through widening gaps in the thick, punky ice out back, massive, foot-thick ice chunks still strewn high … 0

On the Trail: Scabby mess

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whether it was winter’s final roar or a soothing song of coming spring depends upon your perspective, I guess. But to my gray tiger cat sleeping peacefully across my lap on a bright, spring-like Monday afternoon, it was threatening indeed. Visibly alarmed, she rose to her feet, jumped down, scooted off in the opposite direction and vanished for more than an hour. It … 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

On The Trail: Whispering winds

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sights, sounds and smells: hourly stimuli awaiting a well-placed flick of the forefinger to set the pinwheel into a blurry gyre that can flitter off to enticing places, if you let it. If you don’t dare, well, you … 0

On The Trail: Attic treasure

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Whew! This prehistory stuff is attacking like rogue waves, one after another — wild, powerful and quite exciting. No, I’m not bellyaching. I won’t allow this stubborn winter that’s clinging with a white-knuckled grip to get me down … 0

On The Trail: Whims & whispers

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I should know better than to read Henry Miller. The bad-boy American novelist disrupts a guarded spot in me that likes to be roiled, ignited to a tumultuous boil, furious bubbles bursting through the surface into a belching, … 0

On the Trail: Twists and turns

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It wasn’t the oh-so familiar yet faded scene — a dark, dingy basement classroom in the bowels of UMass’ Bartlett Hall — that left an impression on me. No, no, no! It was the Coppertone man, a long, … 0

On The Trail: Divine intervention, plus

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cabin fever? Nope, not me. It’s true the dead of winter is upon us, the temperatures frigid indeed. Yet for some reason, it doesn’t seem to matter this year, news swarming like black flies, the brittle carcasses piling … 0