Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Across Sam Page Road

This perk of living in the sticks is located directly across the road from my house. I can and have hit the sign with numerous snowballs from my dooryard on more than one occaision. I always toss a few just to see if this aging wannabe, or is it soon to be geezer still has a decent arm. Or any arm for that matter. According to my darling wife, us guys can't resist when there's fresh snow just right for molding into perfect white frozen tossin balls.

It is a small patch of ground, less than 20 acres, bequeathed by Mary Grant upon her untimely and ignoble demise 3 or 4 years ago. She left her property to some obscure Nature group somewhere not located anywhere near here.

They had no interest in such a small chunk of Maine. It was far too far away from their area of interest. They passed it off on a local group of concerned and enviromentally inclined citizens, the Three Rivers Land Trust. After much discussion, they decided they were not interested either. Too small and nothing special I guess. They passed the ball to the Town of Acton, Maine.

So now it was the town's property. The town's problem. This free for nothing land. Would make a nice location for some civic oriented building. No. Couldn't do that. Mary had rules regarding her bequest. It was to be left natural, wild and unsullied by fools with tools who would turn it into something that needed mowing.

Special town meetings were convened, committees formed and then disbanded. The big fish in our small pond could not come to any agreement. Tall fishin and huntin tales swapped by good ole boys dressed in stained Dickies down to the Tradin Post were liberally sprinkled with often heated opinions on what the town should or should not do with this acreage. It was decided by those who only talk that there was no such thing as free anything. The town would surely waste some of these ole boy's taxes on this "free land". So, all the grumpy old men decided over their coffee they were against it.

Against free land? I could not believe the uproar 2 summers ago. If it became a town park, my neighbor was positive it would become a hang out for all 3 or 4 trouble making punks we might have here in town. He could not understand my ambivalence and reticent attitude about joining the fight against accepting free for nothing land. I was and still am of the opinion that the more public land, the better. There was no such thing as too small.

It was decided to turn this parcel into a town preserve with a loop trail. But the town coffers could not be used to pay for any improvements. And much needed doing. The original house had to razed and hauled away. It was past redemption. The cellar hole filled in and grading done. The only outbuildings saved would be the small barn and the one hole outhouse out in the pucker.

Donations of time, money, and labor were sought and found. The necessary inprovements spread over the last 2 years ended with a nice cedar fence and nice plastic coated signs pointing in the right direction.

A short 1/2 mile outer loop connected roughly in the middle by the ever popular 1/4 mile Trail #2. The 2 trails are exercises in minimalism. Other than cutting out saplings and deadfall and raking away some debris in the way, this town park remains for the most part in the capricious hands of Mother Nature.

The improvements are just right. 15 minute walking laps with slight changes in elevations make for a very sweet little dog walking area. Stub is in dog heaven every day when we head over to work out the kinks of an uncomforatble night's sleep. Starting down Trail #1 frantically she is quickly lost around the first bend. By the time I have finished my first 1/2 mile lap, she has crisscrossed with her 5 mile version.

So I have my own semi-private park now. It isn't much, but surely it beats that god awful surburban McMansion Ben White built out back. I appreciate my little park now. I am beginning to really enjoy my time spent there. It has worked itself into the erratic schedule of my life, offering a few moments away without making any sacrifice. I should and do consider my self lucky to have it so close.

1 comment:

Noah said...

Well, even when your arm fails, you'll still have your sarcastic wit.