In late April, I went with a group of people to explore the 9.4-acre Hayes Farm Park (pdf map) in Etna, NH, including the 4.2-acre King Bird Sanctuary (map of bird sanctuary portion), managed by the town of Hanover.
“The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.”
— Henry Miller
The park is mostly meadow, including wet meadow and uplands;
and a hemlock forest.
“’You know Balbec so well – do you have friends in the area?’
‘I have friends wherever there are companies of trees, wounded but not vanquished, which huddle together with touching obstinacy to implore an inclement and pitiless sky.’
‘That is not what I meant,’ interrupted my father, as obstinate as the trees and as pitiless as the sky.”
― Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
Stone walls, apples, and crabapples offer evidence of the property’s history as pastureland,
while removal of invasive plants — bush honeysuckles, Japanese barberry, glossy buckthorn —
along with widespread planting of natives — wild raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), grey dogwood (Cornus racemosa), elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), lowbush and highbush blueberry, black currant (Ribes nigrum), et al. — will determine to some degree the future uses of this spot by birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians, mammals.
As always, there were surprises and so many interesting things to see.
We even stopped for a lovely snack of cheese, crackers, and clementine oranges along the way.
“Perhaps walking is best imagined as an ‘indicator species,’ to use an ecologist’s term. An indicator species signifies the health of an ecosystem, and its endangerment or diminishment can be an early warning sign of systemic trouble. Walking is an indicator species for various kinds of freedom and pleasures: free time, free and alluring space, and unhindered bodies.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking