There is much to observe in the winter landscapes surrounding us here in New England. This past Sunday, Chris and I revisited nearby Weetamoo Woods in Tiverton RI. The deciduous trees have mostly let go of their leaves, and what is now revealed might go unnoticed earlier in the season or be at a totally different stage. For example, above, the pesky green briar offers subtle beauty with its zigzag lines and blue black orbs of fruit against the waning light.Now, without the distraction of spring’s brilliant greens or autumn’s blazing red and gold tones, natural stone, tree trunks and moss become the main attractions…Look at this end of a wall formation embossed with aged lichen and liverwortsThere are colorful surprises…even at some distance, this olive green Rock Fern, happily embedded in a fissure of this sculpted stone, stood out.A closer view of the fern’s habitat.A dry laid stone wall still stands proudly and has developed a patina money can’t buy.Life and sounds emanating from this creek announced the remains of an old saw mill nearby.
Chris, a master stone wall artisan himself, inspected an ancient arched stone bridge which spanned the creek further ahead.The vertical rhythm of tree trunks countered the soft crunch of oak leaves on the forest floor. Note to self: How simple, how peaceful.Dry laid stone walls, like this handsome and still structurally sound example in Weetamoo Woods, acted as boundaries for livestock in earlier days, and now mark “rooms” throughout the property. Here and there, a tree might take root at its base, but a caregiver has seen to it that bramble hasn’t obscured its presence.
We can all be thankful for the simple beauty of our local woodlands, preserved with sensitive editing by the stewards who care for them. Imperfections, such as a wall slightly tumbled, may not be tolerated in some of our more cultivated gardens but are celebrated where the natural landscape rules.
Is there a special woodland walk near you which you find restorative? Perhaps you would like to share a special place with our readers.