Trouble at Menotomy Rocks Park

According to Don Mattheisen’s book, Menotomy Rocks Park; A Centennial History, this area of multiple granite outcrops left by glacial activity was originally a dense woodland with a swamp. Purchasing and transforming “Devils Den” into a usable town park with a pond took a great deal of commitment and effort. The town loved the woodland park and protected it. The pond was dredged after it had begun to fill with muck and weeds. Aeration devices were also installed.

Sometimes off-leash dogs jumped in trying to catch one of the many ducks I saw there last Octobers. Ducks followed me as I walked around the pond, perhaps seeking handouts – a sign explained what was safe to feed them. I preferred to think they recognized me and knew I cared about them.

As winter ice thawed, ducks swam the open water in pairs. A Canada geese couple arrived, They treated the pond and vicinity like it was their private resort. Fearless, they allowed me to come close as they grazed on new grass.

On warm days, turtles piled onto a rock jutting out from a wetland area. A Great Blue Heron alighted briefly on a day I did not bring my camera. A bit later, two swans probed for tender shoots. After the pastel colors turned a darker green, a muskrat swam to hide in plain view under branches at the water’s edge.

In late May, robins and red wing blackbirds seemed as plentiful as ever but I saw few birds on the pond. I wondered if they had left to lay their eggs away from dogs and snapping turtles. Then I saw a notice in a plastic sleeve – sixteen fish had died and water testing had been requested. I was reassured by the fact that if history was any indication, this park would be protected.

As if to ensure I got the message, I saw a squirrel lying by a rock on the side of the road just after I left. It was still breathing. I spoke to it in gentle tones wishing it (and all of us) well.

Only a single duck sleeping high on a boulder in the pond in late May

Many ducks of various species frequented the pond last October

A pair of Canada geese came in early March and stayed for several weeks

Turtles sunning themselves on a rock jutting into the pond on one of the first warm days

Swans probing for tender young shoots in the wetland at the side of the pond

Looking a bit like a small beaver, this muskrat has a narrow tail

The muskrat with its head poking up looks like a rock or log by the edge of the pond

This park is lucky – people care and have the will and resources to work at preserving its health

Moments in words and images

Sometimes I encounter moments that feel like poems. There is a clarity to them that has me stopping to notice. They can be small and quiet, easily missed. Nonetheless, every once in a while, such a moment can leave me breathless.

The first two spoke volumes without words but others inspired me to write haiku.

Heads up, dog coming

Grazing geese splashdown

Safe on Hill’s Pond

Taped to the arm of

A Menotomy Rock’s bench,

Mother’s Day balloon


Warm fall evening


Water tower lantern lit


People drawn like flies

You can see more images of this water tower event, and read about it here.