While standing just before the entrance of the South Manchester rail trail, I spotted a streak of white gliding through the air. The white steak belonged to a bird that had nestled in the low-hanging branches of a tree to my left.
I am familiar with that type of bird — it was a black-capped chickadee, which are a common type of songbird in the backyards of North America, grazing at bird feeders.
And as I resumed my walk onward into the trail, almost as I was about to be eclipsed by a canopy of vegetation, I heard the reverberating call of the red-bellied woodpecker — they usually have a spot of bright red around the throat/head area — sitting atop a telephone pole, which was one of many disbursed at intervals on the trail.
One tends to recognize distinct songs in the sounds of nature, which seem to be to be a blend of every creature that inhabits it, the more time one spends in the woods.
The temperature was mild by New Englander standards, but for my sensitive skin, it was a little more than warm for my liking. The aroma of humidity garnered from the dirt and soil — hung in the air like a potent cologne.
Eau de Manchester. HA!
Having passed into the trail, I did notice its typical residents — American Robins, Eastern Gray Squirrels, and Eastern Chipmunks — emerging periodically from cubby-holes in the rocks and trees to scamper before my footfalls, running their errands.
As peaceful as I make the South Manchester rail trail sound, there was an element of danger to it — I heard that local animal control had been called recently to respond to reports of (a) coyote(s) that have strayed onto the trail.
Coyotes are usually solitary hunters. They hunt in pairs at the most.
Knowing that, and also knowing that the path I was walking on was well-traveled, caused me to feel alert and attentive, but at ease. If anything, I welcomed the chance of a coyote encounter.
In a strange way, I almost wished a coyote would attack me so I could tell you — interested readers — about what it was like.
Almost. I’m not that desperate for news coverage.
But the fact that there is still some Nature yet in the biggest city in the state is not the least surprising — the amount of trees that cover the Granite State borders on 90%, which is the most in the nation. (Take that, Vermont!)
As I alluded to earlier in this post, it gets easier to notice the little things the more one spends time in nature.
Collectively, my observations, although I still have much, much more to experience and to observe, form the beginnings of the South Manchester rail trail ecosystem — a beautiful patch in the much larger interconnected web of life of which we are all part.
Dear faithful readers, I am curious to whether you think nature and an urban environment can coexist together without one overtaking the other. Leave your opinion in the comments!