River Towns #SOL

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photo credit: Dave Griffin

This summer I have been exploring the new-ish Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT) that runs through my small New England town. While much of it is inland, skirting the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, the section within walking distance from my house meanders along a lovely stretch of Thoreau’s beloved Assabet River. The stone marker you see above marks the entrance to Ice House Landing, a popular kayak launch and small picnic area. My husband and I don’t own bikes or our own kayak (YET!), so this natural oasis is unfamiliar to us.

I have intentionally left a camera of any sort behind on all my walks thus far. When I have a camera with me, I find I tend to be constantly looking for the perfect shot and not open to taking it all in — sight and sound. Of course now that I’m writing this, I wish I had photos to share, but honestly, I don’t believe photos would do it justice.

The Thoreau quote, “River towns are winged towns,” conjures up several meanings for me personally. As a bit of a bird nerd, and just having returned from a week-long Bird Sleuth course at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, I think of all the birds who make their home in this riparian environment. (I saw a Great Blue Heron almost immediately my first time on the trail!) Then I also think of the movement of the river and how it flows from one  small town to the next, connecting them with its own parallel trail. Lastly, I believe the ARRT has given the residents of the communities it links movement. It’s exciting to see so many residents of my town running, walking, and biking along the trail. I often see adults with children in strollers who now have a lovely way of introducing their child or perhaps grandchild to nature.

What a treasure, and how grateful I am to have discovered it. Next time I’m bringing my camera!


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?



Woods Walk #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Happy National Poetry Month! This month I am tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study and master class, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!


Today’s poetic technique chosen by Amy is letting your title open the door. As Amy notes, the words in the title need not appear again in the text, but (hopefully) guide the reader in to take a closer look. My subject is, and will be all month long, vernal pools. Woods Walk was inspired by my walk around Walden Pond on Tuesday, and time spent at the adjacent Wyman Meadow vernal pool habitat (named for a relative of my husband’s, we recently discovered!), which literally springs to life in late March.


I am fortunate enough to live just a few minutes drive away, and enjoy visiting Thoreau’s simple, yet significant special place throughout the year. I couldn’t help but wonder at the many changes this natural community sees throughout the seasons.

As you’ll notice in the lines of my poem, the vernal pool habitat (or pond-hole as Thoreau sometimes referred to it) swells with activity in the late spring and then life recedes, as does Walden’s shoreline, as summer approaches. The chosen movement of the salamanders honors Thoreau’s love of “sauntering.”

Woods Walk (1)

I hope you’ve been following along the journey of the 2018 KidLitosphere Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. This poem has magically, and quite literally this year, been growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine, a seed, and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine, from a long line of poet’s jasmine, began is beginning to make her way in the world and find her poetic voice. The process has been fascinating to follow and I was excited to dive in for the first time with line eighteen. I hope you will follow Jasmine’s journey for the remainder of our Progressive Poem month by clicking on the blogs in the list below.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!


2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads


This post is part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.

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