The human history of my place is majorly influenced by the Catholic institution of Trinity College. This college was granted permission to exist in 1925, and was created by the Vermont chapter of the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy. From 1925 to 2002 it was owned and operated by Trinity College (as of 1980 Trinity College of Vermont), but in 2002 after suffering substantial financial losses, it was sold to University of Vermont.
The late November breeze caught my hair as I gazed out over the Stainton Wildlife Refuge. I have been visiting this wooden bird watching perch since I was a child with my grandpa, and watching the beautiful birds fly and dive in the pond with no fear of predators. The expansion of wilderness in this very developed area is refreshing, it brings a feeling of serenity in a sea of real estate and tourists. The carefree nature of the blue herons, egrets, willets, and seagulls brought me great joy, as they are usually much more hesitant if seen in a less protected environment. Ocean City, New Jersey is a huge tourist destination, and a huge migration ground for birds, so it is wonderful that there is a refuge dedicated to protecting these amazing, breathtaking creatures. The refuge is full of different kinds of green and brown grasses, as well as ponds and waterways for the birds to enjoy. From the perch, you can see rooftops in the distance, but the birds are untouchable due to a thick protective outer layer of plants to surround the refuge. As I peer over the edge, a calm relaxation comes washing over me. The freedom and untouchable nature of the refuge for these birds gives me peace.
The landscape of the Burlington site is quite different from that of the birding site in Ocean City. In my Burlington woods site the land feels softer, and the leaves that were once crunchy on the ground have grown wet and begun to decompose to become one with the soil. The trees sway with each other in a way that makes it seem like the sky is whispering to you, while the leaves trickle down like water droplets dripping down a drain. The spot in Ocean City, New Jersey has a very different feel to it. The elevation of the wooden perch brings a wind that brushes against your cheek and blows your hair in the wind. It gives a strange sense of freedom, which can be confusing since the rooftops are not far off in the distance. The flying, diving, and chirping of the birds communicates a joy and will to be alive, while the earth underneath them seems to welcome them home. The water stays stagnant, except by random bursts from the birds diving in to catch a fish for lunch or dinner. The trees and grasses communicate with the sky and animals by swaying in a way similarly to the Burlington site. From my perch, I feel one with nature. From my perch, I can feel the comfort and Zen of the birds.
The leaves have fallen off the trees far more, and those left are strong shades of orange and red. There have still been no signs of wildlife.
As the leaves really turn,
The colors seem to burn,
The greens, yellows, oranges, and reds,
Creates a story unread.
The path led to here,
my mind can finally be clear.
The vegetation has began its turn from green to more yellow in certain trees, and more reddish-orange in others. Some of the trees have begun to lose leaves as well, and the dirt trail is covered in the fallen leaves. There has not been any evidence of wildlife either time I have visited.
My place is down an awesome little trail off of the green grass open space of trinity campus, and into the woods. I chose a spot that is not very far into the forest, but far enough to feel engulfed by nature. I selected it because I live nearby, and since I don’t have a car or bike, it will be easily accessible all year to go visit. This area is dominated by American Beech, some Norway Spruce, and a ton of maples of all sorts. There are also many ferns covering the ground around the trees. The trail takes a bit of a dip and it feels like you are further isolated into the forest than you actually are.