Ever since I can remember, I have needed to sneak away and have time to myself. I was going to say to have time to think, but really, it is time to unthink. I can't even really call it time for myself; it's more like time to escape myself. Somehow when I am immersed in nature, my mind is buzzing and alive, yet crystalline and still. It is the ultimate way to be alone but not lonely: there are the rocks and tree roots, the branches creaking in the wind, a flock of White-throated Sparrows hopping through the undergrowth, a Tufted Titmouse who alights on a branch and fixes you with an inquisitive look.
|Tufted Titmouse, Pond View Preserve, Easton|
It was a revelation to discover that this place I had never thought to go birding in before -- Pond View Preserve, in Easton -- is a wonderland of birds. A Merlin shot overhead at an awe-inspiring speed, like a stealth bomber. Two Red-shouldered Hawks wheeled up high, screaming. Barn Swallows swooped above the treetops, chittering away. The warblers were back: Palm Warblers, Black-and-White Warblers, Yellow-rumps. There was the occasional flash of a Goldfinch. American Crows were lurking. A gang of Red-bellied Woodpeckers had colonized the whole place. There were flocks of Chipping Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. The Robins were laughing; and the Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and White-breasted Nuthatches were calling. A flash of a bright scarlet male Northern Cardinal flying across my path was followed by the muted tones of a female. There was the grumpy gee-gee sound of the Ruby-crowed Kinglet. And finally, my last bird before I managed to unlose myself and find the parking lot, the bird that made me smile the most: my first Catbird of the season, giving its gravelly mewing call from a tangled thicket. Welcome back, friend!
|Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pond View Preserve|
|The buds of Spring, Pond View Preserve|
|Day-moon over Pond View Preserve|
Pond View Preserve is part of the 127.8-acre Paine Open Space, and you can get to it from Maple Street, Easton. If you can't make it there for a visit, reading the map and drifting away to Moss Hollow in your mind is pretty good for the soul, too.