Thanks to Jon Udell for emailing me about “a great shot waiting to be taken.” On Krif Road on the way to the Keene State College athletic fields is a band of scrubby field alongside the electrical right-of-way. A sign proclaims this as a Wildlife Management Area, which means KSC leaves this field alone for most of the year, the sign being an apology to those neat freaks who think even rights-of-way should be managed and mowed. (Click on the image to see an enlarged version.) With spring rains and snowmelt flooding this and surrounding fields, it looks like Mowing will most certainly be Delayed.

Although the fields along Krif Road are popular with local birders as well as dog walkers, joggers, and power walkers, I hadn’t been here since last summer when Reggie and I walked the road to the athletic fields while Chris drove golf balls along the power lines. There’s something about flat open country that feels like home to me: if I let my eyes blur out of focus, I can almost ignore the ring of hills on the horizon and thus fool myself into thinking this is a flooded field in Ohio. I don’t know why I don’t walk the dog along Krif Road more often: there’s ample room for him to run off-leash, and right now at least there are Canada geese, mallards, and even a pair of ring-necked ducks in the puddles left by spring rains and snowmelt. Perhaps because Krif Road is close to home but not exactly in my backyard I overlook it: it’s too far a walk but too short a drive to feel worth the trip. And so yet another Hidden Jewel lies forgotten in my midst.

The flooded fields along Krif Road were frozen hard when I first visited them yesterday morning…but by the time I returned in the afternoon with Reggie in tow, they’d melted just enough to allow him his first springtime swim. Normally I’d regret having to drive home with a wet, muddy dog, but there’s something magical about the first swim of the season. I let Reggie have his fun with nary a “no” to dissuade him and felt better for that choice, as if it were I, not he, who had sported in the shallows. Mowing (like all work) can be Delayed for the sake of wildlife or weather, but wading deep in the Joy of a spring day should never be denied.