An early morning walk begins as I go out the front door, hearing the screen door bang shut behind me. Morning coolness flows around me. I can almost always start out with a sweater.
First stop... Pooh sticks bridge. If you are Pooh fans, I don't need to explain. If you are not, well (you are definitely missing out!), but here's how you play. Everybody finds a stick, it needs to be unique, so you can tell who's is who's. Then one, two three, GO.. everyone throws their stick into the water. Stop, and look both ways. (Hardly ever a car coming, but just in case).
Dash across and hang over the railing to see whose stick came out first! That, my friends is how you play Pooh Sticks. You can even play it by yourself, just throw two sticks in at the same time! Here, down by the river, you will find the mayflowers are opening up,and the little fish are swimming over the rapids.
Climb back up the bank and walk across Pooh's bridge. We'll go visit an old.old friend.
Samuel Kinney, Revolutionary War soldier. He has been peacefully sleeping here in these woods since 1777. I feel that he is not lonely, for the sun shines softly through the pines and the flowers bloom here every spring and a flag flutters in every breeze. At night the stars smile down on him and the moon sails overhead year after year. A path rises, dim, from off the road and you can follow it and come and thank him, for his gift to us, of freedom and sacrifice.
We go back to following the river and come to the broken bridge, There was a bridge here once. Why? I never knew. Theres nothing but woods on the other side. Its a quiet place. You can fish here, or have a seat and just daydream.
Next stop, Stone Landing, where you can launch your canoe, and head up or down the river.
The shad bush, (or service berry bush), is beginning to bloom along the edges of the woods. Called shad bush because they bloomed the same time as the Shad came swimming up the rivers to spawn. Also called service berries because after the long New England winter when no one could bury their dead, now the ground had thawed and for all the services, there was these lovely blossoms everywhere to soften the sorrrow.
Water Loom Pond. Its where I turn around and head back home. Its the back up of the Water Loom Dam. It was built to run the Mills on the Souhegan River. The beautiful river that we have been following on our walk. Just over the hill, still stand the buildings of The Warwick Mills. Still running today, keeping up with the times, making cloth for sail boats, Kevlar, to keep our finest safer, material for NASA and things that are classified and not public knowledge. One of the oldest of the hundreds of New England Mills that once fueled the country.
The Forsythia blazes yellow in the sunshine, at new homes and old abandoned cellar holes, and the endless stone walls.
The morning sun casts long shadows across the fields.
Back at home, the pear tree bursts with blossoms.
When I leave, and when I return, this flag is furling and unfurling in the morning breeze. This flag flew with my son-in-law, Charlie, on a mission in Iraq and was sent to me by his commander. It's a daily reminder to me that freedom is not free. It costs way more than we can ever know. And, I know that it cost tears, it costs strength, not only from the soldier, but also from the soldiers family that stayed behind. It costs years of healing when these brave men do come home, and of course there are those who dont get to come home to heal.A humble thank you to all those , from 1775 to this day, who have given me the freedom to walk in this beautiful place that I call home.