Winter has Arrived– Hopedale Parklands


Hopedale Pond, frozen

Until quite recently we have enjoyed relatively mild temperatures for December. Overnight the temps dropped into the teens and the pond at Hopedale Parklands quaked from the shock of the change.


Defying gravity in winter


Afternoon cast long shadows across the path as we traveled.


Nearing the shortest day of the year, the afternoon shadows quickly grow long

Recent rains filled a small stream which cascaded down the hill toward the pond.The few fellow travelers along the way hurried past us, leaving us to the quiet.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We started from the smaller entrance on Freedom Street, typically less busy than the main entrance near the public swimming area. The stone bridge is about half way around the pond, starting from either entrance. About 1 mile in length, it was a good walk for us on this bitter cold day.


The “dignity” shot, swans posing nicely.

We spotted some swans next to the bridge, swimming in the little remaining unfrozen water of the pond. The Mill River flows into Hopedale Pond as it travels under the bridge, maintaining some open water there, for now. The swans fed steadily as we stood watching them from the bridge. A large flock of mallards clustered close to the icy edge, as far as they could get from us, while staying off the ice.


A few of the many mallards clustered in the small patch of open water

We enjoyed watching the birds scour the bottom for food. I tried to avoid too many “bottoms up” pics, but there was a moment it appeared the large birds would flip right over in a somersault.


One just up, another still down searching for food


A last silly shot of swans a feedin’

And so winter begins. We received no more than a small dusting last night, which has turned into icy rain with daylight. A time for baking, warm soups, lots of extra clothes, and good books. With adventures outdoors when we can. Tell us what you are doing outside (or in) as winter arrives, in the comment section below !

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.

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