Like many in New England, I have been looking forward to taking in the stunning display of foliage that is an annual tradition around here. Usually happens around the first two weeks of October. But as we moved our way through this blessedly cooler month of the year (yeah!) I, and others like me, kept saying, “Hmm, not much foliage this year.” I heard other comments like, “No reds, just some yellow, so disappointing.”
But as I have looked out my window the past few days, nearly at the end of October, the woods have begun to glow. The maples have finally gotten into high gear, and yes, the reds are showing up in full color.
I had a meeting in Medway this morning right next to Choate Park, which offers a lovely walk around Choate pond and beyond into the woodland adjacent to the park. I planned to walk around the pond, and maybe even grab a few photos on the trail that leads over to the high school and then heads toward Holliston.
But the park has been under renovation, opening this weekend (so they say). A lot of work is still waiting to be done before their grand reopening.
Regardless, on this day, the fencing made it clear that a walk around the pond was not a great idea.
So I did the next best thing–got right up next to the fencing, grabbed some photos, and headed over to the nearby Charles River.
The police station in Medway on Village Street abuts the Charles River, but from the road you might never know the river was there. This is the upper Charles, sometimes called the “Hidden Charles,” since for many years the communities it flows through turned their backs on the river, it was so dirty. Times have changed, and the river is much cleaner, yet access to the river is still rather limited. However, directly next to the police station is a small, somewhat hidden trail that brings you right out to the Charles River.
At the shoreline, next to the station, are three benches, created as an eagle scout project, a memorial by this eagle scout,
in memory of his father, who did so much for local scouts in Medway. The benches offer a great spot to sit a while and take in the beauty of this hidden portion of the Charles River.
The color along the river was stunning, and photos capture only a hint of the light from the glowing foliage.
Next stop was a little farther downstream along the Charles, to Sanford Mill, where the Medway Open Space folks have worked hard to clean up a property that was historically a gathering place for the community. They have provided some ID placards on various trees, giving it the feel of an arboretum.
A large open picnic area in days gone by, the amphitheater was filled with trees and brush in this spot along the river. But volunteers cleared out the invasive shrubs and created a short loop trail that offers access to the river.
The somewhat flat rock just offshore was known to be a favorite spot to swim out to and get some sun on a hot summer’s afternoon in days gone by.
And of course, Silver Lake, where I live, is also offering a grand foliage display, along with migrating water fowl, including mergansers, buffleheads, mallards, golden eyes, and more. I counted ten mute swans, so clearly these birds are migrating, since swans get cantankerous with one another and often chase off other birds. You rarely see more than two mute swans in any pond in the warmer months. During my walk along the lake, adult swans spent quite a bit of time chasing other swans around the lake. But soon, they will travel on.
This annual show will soon be gone. So be sure to get outside while you can. Winter always feels too long, but for now, the warmth of the foliage reminds us that all seasons change. As others have said before me, fall reminds us to let go. Happy trails…
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then