The Old Cart Path

The Old Cart Path

The Swamp Down Below
The Swamp Down Below

If it has a name I’ve never heard it and I’ve lived here for 50 years. We always referred to it as the swamp down below. It’s not much, just a small swampy area in the hollow between two hills. An old cart path winds along one edge of it. There’s the outline of an old cellar hole on a rise nearby and a old stone wall snakes though it. There are some other outlines that look like they might have been the foundations for sheds or barns or other outbuildings. I don’t know who would choose to settle in such a desolate place, but 300 years ago the landscape could have been quite different.

When I was younger it was a forbidding place, surrounded by impenetrable thickets and inhabited by a healthy population of black racers. It was also a dependable source for turtles and frogs. The black racers are gone, and there aren’t as many turtles. It’s just a short walk from my back door, and it’s one of my favorite places to go in any season, sometimes to explore for early signs of the changing seasons or just to think and enjoy the solitude. Already I can see the first traces of foliage changing into autumn.

In recent years there have been several deer living down there bedding down in the pine and laurel thickets. I didn’t see any tracks when I was down there yesterday, but next time I go, I’m going to make a more serous effort to locate them.  I always feel better when I know they’re still there. I’ll keep you posted.

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