The entrance to the swamp below my house

My family moved to the house I now live in 50 years ago. My parents, immigrants from Finland, saved every penny they could to be able to put a down payment on this modest little place out in the country – Lunenburg, Mass., to be precise.

It was very different from the Finntown wooden-triple decker I was born in, and different from the two-family we lived in after that. Those were in the city. This was in an entirely different world. Instead of a postage-stamp size yard, there were acres and acres of fields and woods to wander in.

And at the bottom of the hill was the swamp. Lush, green, overgrown in the summer, stark and barren in winter.

I often go for walks along the old cart paths that loop through it, and I never fail to find something interesting. So today I decided I would try to chronicle a year’s worth of these walks.

I usually walk through parts of two fields to get to my usual access point – an old dirt cart path. As you can see by the picture, ATVs tend to use it, too. More about them some other time.

This first day of the year was partly cloudy, warm, in the 40s. The last few inches of snow from Monday’s storm are being turned into slush.

I pause across West Street from the start of the cart path. It goes up and over a small rise of land. From here it doesn’t look like much. But it draws me in, every bit as much as it did half a century ago, the summer I was 10 years old, standing in the same place. The other kids were afraid of the swamp. It was full of snakes. They refused to go in. That only made me want to go in even more.

Welcome to the swamp below my house.

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