Sunday, February 21, 2010

a new wilderness

Went for a walk through the woods up by the Antenna Farm, a young-ish birch and alder forest with more mountain ash than I've seen growing wild anywhere else in town. Pussy willow catkins, the earliest flowers in the Northland, are starting to bud out, and cattails are turning fluffy and explode in my hand. The birds today were mostly quiet; crows, chickadees and nuthatches passed through, and once I saw a hairy woodpecker rooting around for grub in a paper birch. I also kicked up a snowshoe hare, which was still completely white.

When I bought my house in the Central Hillside, I despaired a little because there were no big, official parks nearby--Chester and Enger are both about just too far to conveniently saunter out too--but the longer I'm here the more secret pockets of wilderness I'm finding. Walking through the Antenna Farm woods is like being suddenly transported out to the boondocks, complete with dirt roads and the occasional farmhouse, only you're in the middle of the city, between downtown and the mall. There's a little pond or swamp up there, maybe 500 by 300 feet, lined with cattails, which in the spring will be a good place to go listen for frogs and which will probably host a great blue heron or two.

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