It was 26 degrees outside this morning, but after a week of snow, rain and harsh winds, it was a relief to walk with the dogs under a clear blue sky and no breezes.
Saturday mornings give us a time to explore Stockbridge while the town is mostly asleep.
Today, I walked with my dog Sean and our dog friend Frankie, an old family dog friend whose is staying with us while her owners are vacationing.
Between Main Street, where we live, which runs east-west, and the two streets behind us, also parallel to Main Street along the slopes of the hill behind us, are a series of woody marshes, common to the Berkshires.
A woman who grew up on Main Street told me that when she was a child, one never saw wild animals such as bears or wild turkeys in town. She thought it was because local farming, more predominant then, meant there was less woods and wilderness, which is more predominant now.
And now wetlands, the catch-all phase for water places, whether formed by flowing, gathering run-off or fallen logs and beaver dams, are protected.
We left Main Street, walking through a large wooded area at the back of the St. Paul's property. Shamrock is the next street behind is. There may be 15 or so houses located on one side or the other.
On the south side there is a large swath of woods, thickets and marsh. As we got close to the end of the street, the land rises sharply up, and a brook carrying spillover water from higher up the hill winds back down to the woods we just passed.
The water was gurgling and splashing, thick with runoff from melted snow and rain from this past week. Dogs and I stood and listened for a few minutes.
Shamrock Street dead ends into Vine Street, which arcs along the hill from Main Street at its east end up to Pine Street at the other end. Vine Street has fewer houses, a pond, woods, marshes.
On the north side there is a dense wood that may have been the edge of an estate garden. Above the road there are rock walls and terraces that poke out of the vegetation.
There are water sluices directing water from above, perhaps from a pond. And then we saw the turkeys, large, tall, black and gray, moving out of grasses and other foliage, like ghosts,
When I was in the first grade we colored pictures of turkeys around thanksgiving, with their round fan tails. I have never seen that traditional turkey in real life until this year, walking the dog in Stockbridge.
They float in out of these woods.
Something disturbed them and then they started a schreeching gobbling, as loud as dogs barking, and then quiet. They float back into the woods.
Before the road gets to Pine Street, it rises steeply. As we turn on Pine to descend back toward Main Street, we can see the bluffs on Monument Mountain south of Stockbridge, St. Paul's bell tower, the tops of trees and houses along Main Street.