An old stone bridge crosses Willard Brook in Ashby

This will probably sound hopelessly partisan, but one of the great things about walking around the New England woods, at least for me, is that I always seem to bump into something unexpected.

This morning was just that kind of walk. I was following an old dirt road along Willard Brook in Ashby, the kind of road that probably dates back to the stagecoach days, when the main highway to Keene, New Hampshire, and from there to Canada, passed through here.

I was walking along, thinking back.

It was two years ago today that the big ice storm hit this region. The woods were a mess. Downed trees and branches littered the ground. Trails were obliterated. At the time I wondered how the forests would ever recover. But they did.

Trail crews everywhere have done yeomen’s work, and trails have been cleared or re-routed. And the woods have begun to recover as well. Downed trees and broken treetops dot the landscape still, but the forests are growing back, and full of life.

Suddenly, there it was. A stone bridge. A small, but sturdy piece of work, built to last, now relegated to an obscure spot in the middle of pretty much nowhere.