It is easy to grow bored walking the same route day after day. What we see and feel becomes routine, as though there is nothing new to experience. However, the flip side of this is that by taking the same path, visiting the same area frequently, we can learn to observe small changes, incremental changes that are not always obvious at first glance.
We went on a recent walk at Riverbend Farm state park, Uxbridge, MA, in winter. This is a place I have visited so many times in the past, in every season. We saw on that chilly day the Blackstone River, full to overflowing after recent rains. The sunset was spectacular, although my camera did not do it justice.
The ground was bare, dressed in its best winter grayness. With no ice on the paths our visit was an Easy Walk rather than a “slip-n-slide.”
Here are a few of the scenes we have enjoyed on countless visits to this Massachusetts State Park. You will find not only natural, but man-made beauty.
The park hosts features of historical significance as well. Rather than colorful mountain peaks, the stars of the show are the Blackstone River and the Blackstone Canal tow path, which was an essential transportation infrastructure built and used in the early 1800s.
Riverbend Farm pulls out the stops at the peak of fall foliage season in New England.
Here are some winter scenes, some with snow, others featuring the stark beauty of nature at rest in the cold.
Spring brings mud as the ground thaws. It also promises more sunlight and a different color scheme, a sort of mirror image of fall. Buds open and fill the woodlands with tinges of red, then light and darker greens.
Primary colors brighten the landscape and birds seeking mates prowl the open fields. Those who have felt cooped up by the cold New England winter begin venturing out again.
Summer draws visitors like bees to honey, reveling in the warmer temperatures and ease of movement.
Planned and unplanned events occur with greater frequency as family and friends make time to get outside together.
Many have their favorite time of year. For others, every season is a good season. Paying attention to the subtle and not so subtle changes in the outdoors, wherever you are, can increase your understanding of the wonder of nature in all its richness. First, however, you have to step outside. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy 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.