January 22, 2013

Winter Offerings

Henry would be pleased by this gentle interplay of snowdust and windfall trimmings about his resting place, and wintery offerings left by devoted pilgrims.

January 20, 2013

Walking in the Thaw, Cold Approaching

The end of a wonderful monthly walk.
Thanks to the eighteen hearty folks who came out for our January walk at Great Meadows ready for an adventure in stiff winds and on muddy trails!  The week's January thaw drew to a close late this afternoon as a cold front passed through with streaming clouds and strong winds.  The trails were muddy and puddled and the ice layer in the impoundment pools had thinned and shrunk dramatically since last weekend, though some patterns hinted at the week's undulating freeze-and-thaw rhythms.

Frozen laps - wind driven water flash frozen as it lapped onto icy surfaces
A small flock of goldeneye (or bufflehead) ducks settled into the open water to the east, ring-billed gulls soared overhead, chickadees worked dried seedheads on the trail edges, and swamp sparrows worked the cold, wet mud beneath the cattails.  All of the ice in the floodplain forest shrank back to the water's edge in these last warm days.  Standing by the river we admired the red stems of swamp dogwood, discussed the marvels of the river ice that will likely return this week, reviewed the history of the Great Meadow, the Concord River, and Musketaquid (the Algonquin name for what is now Concord, "place where the river runs through grasses").  On our way to the beaver lodge, we discovered several piles of fisher scat, numerous muskrat tunnels that are caving into dangerous foot traps, and heard a beaver tail slap in what little unfrozen water there was under the cattail scrub.

Our walk back was bedazzled by the setting sun, perfectly appointed by a small flouish of clouds and contrails.

January 19, 2013

Winter Fog Arises

© Iris Fennell
A foggy winter's day is one of the most ephemeral and intimately quiet of experiences.  A delicate balance of cold snow and icy surfaces below and warm air above gives rise to foggy layers that breathe above the land in response to the most subtle shift in temperature or air movement.  Fogscapes are irresistible for this photographer, but I had other obligations to meet last weekend.  Fortunately, Iris Fennell, one of my monthly walking faithfuls took these beautiful photos of fog and ice skirts at Great Meadows last weekend.

© Iris Fennell
© Iris Fennell

January 1, 2013

Monthly Winter Walks at Great Meadows NWR

 Sunday, December 16, 2-4:15 pm - Solstice sunset walk

Sunday, January 20, 2:30-4:30 pm

Saturday, February 16, 2:30-4:30 pm 


The winter is coming when I shall walk the sky.  -- Thoreau, Journal, Feb. 1860

Winter is the season when earth and sky merge in a shared palette of color, shadow, and reflections.  It is a time when land and waterscapes yield equally for our exploration.  Ice and snow give way to myriad forms and ephemeral worlds that reveal themselves only in these silent, frozen months of the year.  Join me for walks of winter revelation over these next three months.  Dress warmly, head to toe!

No pre-registration required.  A $5/person voluntary donation will be gratefully accepted.

Led by Cherrie Corey, local naturalist, educator, and photographer 

Co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment Program and Friends of the Assabet River NWR

Meet by the information kiosk at Great Meadows NWR in Concord
(Monsen road, off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right)

For questions or to be added to the e-mailing list, email cherrie.corey@verizon.net or call 978-760-1933, http://sense-of-place-concord.blogspot.com/ 

A Haiku Walk at Great Meadows

Sunday, February 17, 2 - 4:30 pm 
Rescheduled from 2/9

Haiku are small but powerful three line poems that originated in Japan over 400 years ago. Today, the haiku is the most popular poetic form in the world! It speaks to our immediate experience, to presence with our surroundings, and to our relationship with nature.  Haiku captures our moments of wonder in simple and direct words, leaving space for meaning to arise.

Join naturalist Cherrie Corey and Haiku poet Brad Bennett for a seasonal haiku experience at Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Concord. Following a short introduction to the landscape, and the technique of haiku, we will walk in the refuge, deepening our attention, and welcoming its beauty to inspire our writing. We will then travel a short distance to Thoreau Farm, the birthplace of Henry David Thoreau, to share our poems and warm refreshment with each other. No prior haiku experience necessary.

Cherrie Corey – Concord naturalist, photographer, and seeker -- guides her students to form a deeper and more attentive connection to place and their personal unfolding in the wild landscapes around them, an essential discipline in the practice of creating Haiku.  Cherrie offers ongoing interpretive programs at the refuge and has served as the New England Wildflower Society's first education director, Executive Director of the Harvard Museums of Cultural and Natural History, and as Board member for the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society

Brad Bennett has been writing haiku for thirty years and is a member of the Haiku Society of America and two local haiku writing circles. Brad’s haiku poetry has appeared in The Heron’s Nest, Frogpond, bottle rockets, Acorn, and is forthcoming in Modern Haiku.  A third grade teacher at Concord’s Thoreau School for the past seventeen years, Brad has long taught poetry to young students and is currently offering a haiku class to 4th-5th graders at Concord’s Emerson Umbrella for the Arts.

Co-sponsored with Thoreau Farm

Class limited to 12, ages 17+

Fee:  $35, please register by January 31st   
To register, make your check payable to Cherrie Corey and mail to her, along with your address and cell/home phone numbers, at 277 Old Bedford Road, Concord, MA  01742.  Please let Cherrie know, by email (cherrie.corey@verizon.net) or phone (978-760-1933), that your registration is coming.

Location:  Great Meadows NWR and Thoreau Farm, both in Concord, MA

Directions and additional information resources will be sent upon registration.