for it knew now where it was going

3.3.23 ~ Sheep Farm
remains of 18th century grist mill dam

We first came to this open space property three years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, and have been here many times since. Since we know we’re going to North Carolina in a few months this visit seemed special because we were well aware that we may never pass this way again.

standing on top of the dam looking upstream at Fort Hill Brook

A few days ago I spent some time sorting through my “walks” index file, pulling our favorite walks out of the rotation so we might visit them one last time before we go. Please forgive me for this very lengthy post. I want to save as many picture memories as possible!

the lower side of the dam

Usually we walk down to the waterfall and back up the hill, but this time we explored two side trails. First we walked upstream to the dam and walked out on it until the break which lets the brook through now. Then we hopped down off the dam and walked along the brook, getting a different view. With no leaves on the trees yet we could see a lot of the features in the woods.

dam in upper left quarter of picture
the break to restore the water flow is visible between the two dam sections
the dam is above the waterfall, behind me

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” But all the little streams higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much to find out before it was too late.
~ A. A. Milne
(The House at Pooh Corner)

turning around, looking down over the waterfall to the footbridge below

We had never been at the top of the waterfall before. Tim even went out over it a little bit. My legs didn’t seem long enough to jump down where he was.

Tim at the top of the waterfall
from near the top of the waterfall

Then we found the main trail again and made our way down to below the waterfall. I was looking forward to getting pictures of an old tree with amazing roots extending into the brook.

an impressive glacial erratic on along the trail down to the waterfall
the back of the old tree with amazing roots
looking at the waterfall from the footbridge downstream
looking at the waterfall from the opposite side of the brook
the front of the old tree with amazing roots

After crossing the footbridge and getting the above pictures we decided to follow a new trail for a little bit. Sheep Farm South, a property adjoining this one, was purchased by the Groton Open Space Association in April 2021. New trails were created on it and linked to the existing ones on Sheep Farm. So we started down this one which passes by a large moss covered outcrop. It was taller than Tim.

there were many kinds of mosses on this large outcrop
a dripping icicle at the end of a branch sticking out of the outcrop
layers at the top of the outcrop
moss sprouting out of lichen
looking back along the outcrop
moss at eye level, a different perspective than usual

After we passed the outcrop we found a path that went up above it and walked through the woods a bit until we circled around and spotted the waterfall below us. I’m pretty sure the little vine below is partridge berry. It looks like the plant my brother-in-law identified for us at Connecticut College Arboretum, although not as lush looking.

partridge berry (Tim found it!)
waterfall viewed from up high above the outcrop
scorias spongiosa on beech leaves
scorias spongiosa coating beech twigs
one side of the old tree with amazing roots

Before crossing the footbridge I noticed a side view of the tree with the water hugging roots. It was a rough trip back up the long hill to the parking lot because Tim’s sciatica started acting up, but he made it. Perhaps we strayed a little too far this time but we did get to see a lot of things we haven’t seen before.

one side of broken tree with hole
other side of broken tree with hole

Packing boxes have arrived and I’m feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the task before us but it was great spending a little time outside in the woods we will miss so much.

19 thoughts on “for it knew now where it was going”

  1. I feel the sorrow in your words. Leaving a place you love is always dramatic and sad. Making memories in a new area will hopefully help. This was a wonderful post. I know the packing and getting rid of things that will be left behind will be hard. Good luck and best wishes for a great new future with your family.

    1. Thank you so much, Peggy. I am looking forward to making those new memories, ones that will include our grandchildren, too. Living up here we’ve missed them so much and moving down there will fill our hearts with so much joy and contentment. We sold the first piece of unneeded furniture yesterday, a good first step.

  2. Are you moving away for good, Barbara? somehow I have must have missed that post. What makes you move, I wonder? I have cherished your way of seeing, you way of noticing details.
    May you be very happy where you go, I am looking forward to new photos from your noticings 🙂

    1. Yes, we’re moving to North Carolina to be near our grandchildren. The news was in the “a winter without winter” post — I suppose I should have made it stand out a little better. I am looking forward to noticing and taking pictures of new things, too. 🙂

  3. Relocating is bittersweet, isn’t it, Barbara? While you’ll certainly miss the familiarity of the place you’re leaving, you’ll be able to see your new place with fresh eyes and a teachable spirit. Good for you, getting some photos and making memories while you can. What an adventure lies ahead!! (Don’t stress over the packing. Somehow, it manages to get done, you know!)

    1. Definitely bittersweet, Debbie! I am torn between wanting desperately to go exploring a new world but not wanting to leave my stomping grounds. But it is what it is and I plan to feel all of it with an open heart. I think it will be fun looking back at old pictures and memories occasionally while looking ahead to new photo ops and experiences. 🙂 (Wish I could skip the packing part!)

  4. I so enjoyed this romp in one of your beloved places, Barbara. Great to see the dam and waterfall, the big outcropping with all the moss was beautiful, I liked seeing the different plants and moss. And that tree with the roots is super beautiful, I can see why you liked it so much. It’s tough moving from a place you love, and I wish for you a smooth transition and many new lovely places to explore and enjoy. Best wishes to you and your husband, Barbara.

    1. Thank you, Jet! I’m glad you enjoyed this extra-long walk and post. Knowing we’re going to be leaving soon has given our saunters into the woods a different perspective. It’s such a big beautiful planet we live on, as your blog of worldwide nature travels has helped me to appreciate more and more. There’s no way any of us can see it all so we appreciate what we can and enjoy sharing what we discover.

  5. A beautiful meander, Barbara. I can feel the tug of your heart, leaving your home for so many years. At our age, it is not easy to pull up roots and start over, so I admire your resolve to do so. As Shakespeare put it, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” 💕

    1. Thank you, Eliza, my fellow New Englander. Shakespeare’s words are so apt. Part of me still can’t believe we’re doing this but missing those grandchildren has been so difficult the past few years. However, it will be easier to start over with family nearby. ❤️

  6. Lovely set of photos, I would have enjoyed more! 🙂 I, too, missed in your post of your upcoming move to North Carolina, I’m sorry I missed it (just revisited now). So happy for you both to be living so close to your grandchildren real soon! Most exciting, Grammy!! 🤗👍😊

    1. Thank you, Donna! 🙂 I guess I could have made a separate post just for announcing the good news. 😉 Even though I’m a bit apprehensive about the climate down there I am so excited to be seeing the little ones so often and to being a much larger part of their lives. Yay!!! 🥰

  7. Barbara, as usual, I felt like I was tagging along beside you and Tim. So much to see, even though it is Winter. The pretty patches of moss and I wonder if there will be as many glacial erratics in North Carolina … or any at all. Your geologist sister probably can tell you that. This was a long and satisfying trip for you, a catharsis of sorts. I know you will miss the tender leaves and tiny tendrils pushing up through the ground while still wearing a Winter coat and the bare and leafless trees, but you will have your grandchildren in your life on a constant basis, so that will make up for it. Do you think you will return to see your sister, or instead she will visit you?

    1. I’m not sure how Beverly and I will manage to visit each other. Neither one of us travel very well. I’m hoping to convince her to retire and join us down there… For me, there’s something about having a camera in hand that makes me slow down and notice little details, no matter the season. It will probably be the same in a different climate, my camera will keep me focused on the hidden gems to be found in North Carolina. About the glacial erratics: Once when we were driving around down there we saw a big rock on someone’s front lawn and a sign advertising garden rocks for sale. We laughed and laughed because up here there are so many rocks everywhere there would be no need to go out and buy one! Forget about selling them. In fact, here some people pay to get rocks removed from their yards. 🙂

      1. I hope your sister decides to move to North Carolina – how nice for you. The best part of walking in the woods or a shoreline is taking the time to pause and enjoy what is around you. I hate seeing people walking and starting down at their phone. There is so much to immerse yourself in while on a nature stroll. Will you change the name of your blog then Barbara to reflect your new venue? As for the rocks, that is funny. I have two large black lava rocks in my front garden, purchased at a nursery back in 1985, although through the years, the bushes have gotten bigger and you can’t see them. My next-door neighbor at the time I did all the landscaping had a small hunting cabin up north and he went there often to hunt and fish. In 1985, I had done all the landscaping myself, having the nursery deliver all the bushes, but I hauled home mulch, 2 X4 treated wood for the perimeter garden and the bushes, now much larger, looked so small, so this neighbor brought me home a big stone or rock and a piece of driftwood every time he went up north. When he had friends or relatives over to his house, he would sometimes come into my yard and show them what he “gifted” me. My mom and I chuckled about it. A few pieces of the driftwood that had not decayed over the years was still in the back garden so they burned as well.

        1. It’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would be looking down at their phones while taking a nature walk! But I have seen people who seem to be talking to themselves on walks, only to find out they are talking to someone on their phone as they speed by us. I do have a new name for the blog in mind, Linda! That was one of my first thoughts when we decided to move, that I would have to come up with a new name. It sounds like you did a lot of landscaping work over the years. How nice of your neighbor to bring you so many rock gifts. I love rock gardens and the contrast between the hard gray stones and the soft green vegetation. (With pops of colorful blossoms in season.) So sorry to hear that your driftwood pieces burned up. Sigh… It will be interesting to see what you will do with your garden now.

          1. I see people looking at their phones all the time and also having an earpiece and talking away, seemingly talking to themselves. We do have a guy at this Park who does talk to himself and yells and swears (sometimes looking up at the sky and shaking a fist at it) while he runs or walks. He is a bit of a oddity and people who see him for the first time usually go to the other side of the park when they see him – you can’t blame them in this day and age. I’m glad you ‘ve come up with a new blog name already Barbara.

            I did do a lot of landscaping over the years, so that is why I’m mulling over any flowers, grass versus mulched paths for the middle of the yard … the grass is mostly mud right now as too much shade was there from those “junk trees” and I’m thinking they should be cut down to be honest. I bend a branch or twig on the lilac tree every few days – no sap or green and no buds, so I believe it is a goner. Jim liked bringing items to fill in the garden and he got enjoyment out of that as did we. One time he was down South for a family reunion and brought home a pair of pink plastic flamingos. I had a pair of realistic, life-sized Canada Geese in the backyard already, but I put them out and raved about them.

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