On a rail trail, spring is about the conditions, not the calendar. Snow and ice give way to mud season. Before you know it, the trailsides are greening up, signaling a time for tuning up bikes and putting away boots.
If winter kept you indoors, spring will nudge you outside. It’s tempting to get back to the trails and trailheads even when they’re muddy. The resulting ruts would be a problem down the line, though, so a little patience is in order while the mud recedes. Even the paved trails can be reluctant to give up their icy patches. Again, patience. Spring will win out.
I wrote last October about a layered trail: ice, mud, and leaves underfoot. That’s pretty much what I’ve found in January in southern New Hampshire, minus the leaves. Things are pleasantly messy, as long as I have some traction on my shoes. Yes, even for the flat paths: slipping on an icy flat trail in Mine Falls Park left me with a concussion a few years ago. That’s one winter adventure I don’t care to repeat.
I was in Sandown the other day, sharing a trail with some polite ATVers. The trail wasn’t so much layered as patchy: ice here, slush there, frozen tire tracks in the shade, and lots of mud down the middle. I accidentally hit on the best time of day to be a walker there: mid-afternoon, after most of the ATVers had finished for the day.
All Souls’ Day: the one I don’t have to go to Church for, as opposed to All Saints’ Day. I’ve never quite shaken that childhood view. I take more note of the day than I did as a child; that comes with time and age and enduring the deaths of friends and loved ones.
I find myself saying brief silent prayers when I pass a cemetery. There’s no superstition or fear involved. It’s commending souls to God – I once thought that an odd phrase, but no longer. I even do it when the burial ground reveals no names.