Slapping my perspiration-laden forearm out of reaction to a pinching sensation commonly associated with mosquitos, I lifted my hand from my arm to reveal a sickly collage of blood, sweat, and bug guts on my body.
This wasn’t a new occurrence. There were many pests on the South Manchester rail trail — mostly black flies that buzzed around my head. I did pull a wood tick off myself earlier. I probably picked it up when bushwhacking through some underbrush.
My sense of direction is atrocious.
The tick hadn’t begun gorging itself upon that which flows through my veins — I found it on my shirt. The tick was brownish-black — probably a wood tick. They are frequently mistaken for deer ticks, which carry Lyme Disease. I hear wood ticks are partickularly (couldn’t resist) bad this year.
As I disposed of the little creature, I was struck with an afterthought — at least, I think it wasn’t a deer tick.
Still trodding upon an assortment of dirt, sand, and twigs — the last making an oddly satisfying snap! underfoot — I turned my attention to a textile plant that drew closer in the distance. Plumes of smoke — some sort of emission — shot up from the facility to the sky in no great hurry. I sensed the emission was casually making it’s way toward expiration at the same general rate I was strolling.
This observation prompted me to think of Manchester as the titan of New Hampshire — not only does it boast the biggest population as its largest city, it also has a number of mills speckled along the Merrimack river. (And strangely enough, the mills adorning the coast of the Merrimack, in a bizarre matchup — resembled the amount of bug bites and irritations that covered my itchy and glistening arms.)
These mills produced textiles, among other manufactured goods during the time of their inception, but no longer. Technology’s evolved and in the place of mills currently are a bevy of office spaces, the successors to the mills —including many non-profit organizations, marketing agencies, and government agencies.
The sun was harsh and inhospitable upon my slick skin, which now seemed to almost unbearably heat up as I now approached a canopy of trees almost covering, in the distance, a landmark — a bridge!
Unkept — rusted — and unsafe to walk upon, though it may have been, I was reminded of the remnants of history that were scattered on this trail in such a manner as to resemble connect the dots. Stark Fort, railroads, and now this bridge, which was probably for those railroads, and would explain for its state of decay.
Still a comforting thought as I stood in reflection at the bridge in the distance, but not too long because, y’know, it was hot.
Dear reader, what do you think it is about Manchester that makes it the most populous city in New Hampshire? Leave your opinion in the comments!