A Walk in the Rain-The Upper Charles, North Bellingham


Small dam maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, just of North Maple Street

I missed out on the sunshine that we enjoyed yesterday, working away indoors all day. But this morning a sudden cancelation opened up my morning and I called a friend, who I figured was crazy enough to think like me. “Want to go for a walk in the rain?” I asked.

“Sure,” was the reply. And so into the light, misting rain we went.


Brenda captures the energy and sense of peace one feels alongside the banks of the Upper Charles River.

The rivers are running pretty high right now, so I figured visiting the Upper Charles River in North Bellingham, just off N. Maple Street, might be a good idea. We risked, I knew, getting pretty wet–the area we were headed to tends to hold a lot of spring runoff. And, it was raining. Ah, well, it was worth a try.

Brenda, who accompanied me on this outing, creates “Peaceful minute” Youtube videos that are…wait for it…a minute in length. She brought along her camera and spent some time getting footage of the churning river. We then headed upstream to explore more of the area that is part town conservation land, and part Army Corps of Engineers floodplain for the Upper Charles River.


Alongside the swollen river, bushes glistened with raindrops.

Raindrops glistened on the bushes near the water, but my camera was not able to do justice to what our eyes saw. Ducks flew off as they heard our approach, but we were too far away to get a good look at them. We spotted deer droppings as well as coyote scat on the trail–clearly we were not the only ones who had visited recently.


A stone wall travels down to the edge of this stream and onto the other side. It provided a useful, though wobbly! bridge for adventurous travelers.

We encountered numerous stone walls as we traveled upstream along the southern bank of the river. One small stream flowing through the area nearly prevented us from going any farther until we encountered a stone wall that crossed the stream, creating a sort of porous dam. Behind the wall, water backed up and spread out, creating a marshy, mucky area. But, lacking a bridge to get over the stream, we took advantage of the artfully placed stones and managed to wobble our way across the remaining stones of what would originally have been a wall several feet high, probably built in the early 19th century. Cleary this was once a very different landscape, cleared and used for farming, not for the bushwacking we did today.

Having grown up in extremely flat southern Florida, I have never tired of the energy I feel when walking near waterfalls that we encounter. The dam across the Charles, within sight of N. Maple Street, serves no particular purpose any more, and the water has completely breached the dam.


Next to the rushing river

Nevertheless, standing next to the rushing river, the energy and power of the moving water felt strangely peaceful to me. The water is not quiet–it creates its own roaring soundtrack, and yet, the river stayed within its banks on a misty, moisty morning.

Marjorie Turner Hollman

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.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

4 responses to “A Walk in the Rain-The Upper Charles, North Bellingham

  1. Mary Chitty

    lovely column. would like to go there sometime. love mg

    Mary Chitty MSLS Library Director & Taxonomist cell 617 861 7410 work 781 972 5416 Cambridge Healthtech, Needham MA http://www.genomicglossaries.com http://www.healthtech.com

    On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 3:14 PM, Marjorie Turner Hollman wrote:

    > marjorie561 posted: ” I missed out on the sunshine that we enjoyed > yesterday, working away indoors all day. But this morning a sudden > cancelation opened up my morning and I called a friend, who I figured was > crazy enough to think like me. “Want to go for a walk in the rain?”” >

    • marjorie561

      Thanks–happy to take you, it is somewhat challenging footing–you’d need a walking stick along to steady you, for sure–but really pretty spot.

  2. Notes
    Here’s a version from The Only True Mother Goose Melodies (c. 1833):

    One misty, moisty morning,
    When cloudy was the weather,
    I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.
    He began to compliment, and I began to grin,
    How do you do, and how do you do?
    And how do you do again?

    • marjorie561

      Yes, delightful, and indeed, what I was thinking of. But no old men, wearing leather or any other such costumes!

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