Three Thousand and Forty Two Steps along Ridge Hill.

“Let’s go for a short walk, we’ve been inside almost all day.”

The storm of the day is passed, the rain has stopped, why not?

We go out into the yard, take a right “U” turn at the far end of the wood shed, and walk uphill a hundred yards on a road that goes to a neighbor’s house. Just beyond the neighbor’s driveway, over the crest of the ridge, is a rich man’s estates maintenance headquarters, tucked into a bite taken from the side of the hill. Here in what was once oak woods, next to a beautiful grove of beeches, we find an incongruous acre of paved flatness, accessed by paved road, with two large buildings. The large structures are surrounded by piles of supplies and parked equipment. The HQ is little used these days. Because of the recent financial collapse, which the rich man and his minions helped to create, the rich man has had to sell some of his estates, meaning that not so much work is done from these buildings anymore.

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The roofs of the rich man’s maintenance buildings.

We go through a gate to a path that follows a ridge, a morainal ridge, left by the glaciers that created the temporary landform known as “Martha’s Vineyard”.

This little island we live on will persist for less than an eyeblink in terms of geological history.

But it’s a nice place for now.

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In which we set off, along the ridge.

Rain-damp, the understory of huckleberry is a strong russet. With the approach of spring, the buds are swelling, which intensifies the redness of the color.

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Along the ridge, throughout the woods, are boulders, dropped thousands of years ago, from the ice of glacier.

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Stone echoes stone.

Lichens on these rocks grow slowly, but what’s the hurry?

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These random rocks, brought here by ice, are called “glacial erratics”.

An old stone wall, surrounded by underbrush, extends to the south.

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Look at this old granite boundary marker.

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On the edge that faces you, you can see the drill holes which were used to split off this piece of rock from its parent stone.

A pillow of moss has grown on this boulder..

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The pitch pine seedling in the left foreground tells you that this land was once much more open, not too many decades ago. The pitch pine is a pioneer species here. As fields are abandoned, shrubs, cedars, pitch pines, and scrub oaks move in. The pines persist, and continue to seed, but the competition from other trees is very strong.

A closer view of the pillow of moss.

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Mayflower, the trailing arbutus, grows throughout these woods. It’s the State Flower of Massachusetts.

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A little more warmth, a little more sun, and sweet fragrance will waft from the white and pink flowers.

Here, it was time to go right, and to go home.

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As the great Yogi Berra said, “I came to a fork in the road, and I took it.”

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