July 1978


Spotted a SNOWSHOE HARE just as I entered the woods at my end of the Den Trees Trail. Saw RED SQUIRRELS when I was walking down through the hemlock woods toward the far end of the Den Trees Trail, but they didn’t chatter at me tonight. The Lookout is magnificent right now. It’s been a cool, clear day after several days of heat, smaze, and other inconveniences. This is how I dream of Vermont. Sitting here at the Lookout, I feel that I could be happy living just this way, things exactly as they are, for the rest of my life. I’m not sure where the restlessness I feel on other days comes from. It’s about 3/4 of a mile from my house to Lookout Rock by way of the Den Trees Trail. It’s 1 mile exactly to the bench in the pine woods on the yellow rope trail. This is another very peaceful spot. I hear the ee-o-lay of a WOOD THRUSH nearby. There are at least two of them. About halfway down the River Bluff Trail, a CHICKADEE piped in about 5 feet from my head. It was perched on a low branch over the trail. I seem to have interrupted a little flock (a family?) of speckle-breasted birds. They flew up off the ground and chipped to each other from the trees. Were they WOOD THRUSHES? It’s about 1 and 1/2 miles to Horseshoe Bend by the trails I’m taking. Someone set up a bench along the river across from the caved in bank. The bench is made out of a huge, heavy bridge plank. There’s also a fire ring here. It’s about 2 miles to the Sand Beach by this long route I’m taking. There’s a gentle sunset tonight, colors reflected in the river. The Sand Beach is another of my peaceful spots, but tonight it’s  riddled with footprints–of both people and dogs. I also saw signs of a fire, cigarette butts, and other unpeaceful things. Home again by way of the Brook Trail with a spur trip to the Beaver Pond. My whole walk tonight was 2 and 3/4 miles.

GOLDENROD beginning to color up. I spent about two hours at the Sand Beach swimming and reading this afternoon. It’s a very peaceful spot. Got rained on during my walk tonight. It’s 1 and 1/4 miles from my house up the Den Trees Trail to the Hires Trail and back to the house by way of Lichen Rock, the upper Brook Trail, and road. I’m noticing lots of INDIAN PIPES in the woods, one bed just down the hill from the big oak toward the top of the Den Trees Trail and another in the hemlock woods by the Observation Pool.

Saw a TENNESSEE WARBLER in the tree outside the kitchen window this morning while we were eating breakfast. I identified it myself, and Bob confirmed it. Last night while I was lying in bed reading a book, a BAT flew into the bedroom. It was small, black, and incredibly silent. At first I thought it was a bird, but it was too quiet for a bird. Then I thought maybe it was a huge black moth, but it was decidedly too big for a moth. Bob came in at that point and announced that it was a BAT. I freaked out and ran downstairs, while he calmly took the screen out of the bedroom window, turned out the light, and left the room with the door closed. It flew out the window before he even got downstairs.

It’s HOT! Today when I was walking along the same stretch of road I wandered with Arnold and Kathie yesterday, I noticed another cream-colored SPIDER–maybe even the same spider on the same QUEEN ANNE’S LACE. It has a fat abdomen with two rust-colored spots on its back. when I bent down to look at it more closely, it reared back with its front legs spread. Bob says it’s a CRAB SPIDER. LATER, AFTER A HARD RAIN: I took an evening walk from the house to the Upper Blind by way of the White Pine Trail, a distance of not quite half a mile as measured by my new pedometer. Just as I passed the Quiet Zone sign, I heard the sound of a tree coming down. When I got into the blind, I saw no sign of activity. From the house to the Lower Blind by way ot the Upper Blind and river is about a mile. The Nature Center’s CATTAILS are dark brown and look as if they have been that way for a while. There are a zillion RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS at the Big Pond. Also a flock of DUCKS that I didn’t even notice until I walked around in front of the blind to take a closer look at the REDWINGS. The DUCKS all took off at once across the surface of the water, but they didn’t fly very far. They scattered for the edges of the pond, one group to one side and another group to the other. One is back out on the water already and quacking. I think I counted 7 MALLARDS altogether. The big Pond seems full of life tonight. On my way back up to the Nature Center, I noticed small, skinny slugs on the trail. I guess they liked the rain. Saw a fat WOODCHUCK scampering across the Nature Center’s front lawn when I got to the top of the trail. Stopped by the barn to eat a few BLACK RASPBERRIES. When I got home, my whole walk measured about 1 and 3/4 miles by my pedometer.

MILKWEED FLOWERS are passing, and small PODS are beginning to appear. There are a zillion bees flying around in the meadow, and I saw lots of BUTTERFLIES this morning and midday. I just remembered: I saw I very small RED EFT in the woods a few days ago. This morning, walking with Arnold and Kathie, I saw a RUFFED GROUSE perched in a tree beside the road. It flew off and a few minutes later a smaller one flushed. We also noticed an immobile butterfly (an ADMIRAL, I think) on a QUEEN ANNE’S LACE. When we looked more closely, we saw that a cream-colored, perfectly camouflaged SPIDER was eating the butterfly’s body. Later I saw INDIAN PIPES in the woods. RED SQUIRRELS scolded me when I turned up the Den Trees Trail from the Hires Trail.

CLIFF SWALLOWS are nesting in the Heath’s shed, where Bob keeps the Nature Center’s tractor. They first tried to nest under the eaves on the front of the house, but Belle sprayed their mud off with a hose.

RED RASPBERRIES seem to be in their prime–bright red, fat, delicious.

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