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Heading home

By RACHEL LOVEJOY, Columnist
Published:Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:24 PM EDT

Last weekend, I took a walk along the portion of the Eastern Trail that connects Biddeford with Kennebunk. Wide, flat and very well maintained, the trail moves in a pretty straight line, its end disappearing into infinity in the distance, and it offers quite a few spiritually restful stops along the way. Of course, I never visit such places without my trusty camera in hand, and this walk was no different.

I started out fairly early and met few others on the way. As the morning wore on, however, the trail became quite populated with other walkers, cyclists, runners and dogs. Small children zoomed by on their tiny bicycles, and one little girl had to stop at one point so her mother could reattach the chain that had fallen off its gears. Off she went again, her handlebar streamers flying out straight on either side of her.

All types of song birds called from the dense woods on either side, and the farther in I got, the more varied they got. Warblers warbled, thrushes regaled me with their flute-like melody, and I heard, too, the insistent song of the ovenbird greeting me as I passed. The air was warm, but there was relief to be had every few feet as the branches of the taller trees offered shade from the hot sun. And there was no end to the visual pleasure of all the vegetation in the form of ferns, mallow, buttercups and bramble blossoms along the way.

About a half-mile in from the trail head behind Southern Maine Medical Center’s rear parking lot, I came upon a stream complete with a beaver dam built high against its outlet. Its weathered branches formed an intricately woven pattern cleverly and ingeniously stacked against the water’s flow, and most of the wood these industrious creatures used seemed to be of the same variety with all pieces appearing from where I stood to measure roughly five to 10 feet in length. They were placed is such a way as to completely impact the flow both above and below the water line, and I marveled at the instinctive ability that makes such a structure possible.

Other areas of water marked that section of the trail on either side, with one particularly interesting bog punctuated every few feet by a single, dead tree trunk standing placidly among the reeds and rushes. A stream flowed around and between the weather sentinels, making for an eerily beautiful and photoworthy sight – adding to the pleasure of once again being among sun-dappled trees, which made the day and the experience complete for me. I left later feeling renewed and hopeful.

All told, I completed close to three miles, turning back about a half-mile beyond the Arundel town line marker. And despite the fact that one sees the same things going back on the return trip, one never tires of such beauty as can only be found along such unspoiled well-cared-for walking paths. [Article continues......]

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