PHOTO COURTESY OF JOAN SANDERS
Lilah Brackett in the woods of Westborough’s Headwaters Conservation Area (HCA)
February 9, 2018, Page A7
By Annie Reid
Westborough Community Land Trust
A poem for a winter day
Enjoy the magic of the winter woods, courtesy of Lilah Brackett who wrote this poem:
Lost in the Woods By Lilah Brackett As I enter Mother Nature's winter wonderland, I hear laughing, the mischievous roots trying to trip one of us Great oak trees dance sway in the wind. We march on. Young winds greet us quickly Then rush by like they have somewhere else to be We approach the outdoor classroom and the old trees wind up an argument Like we shouldn’t be there, we move on anyway. Advancing to the creek we listen to the concert of nature; birds chirping, the water rushing by, softest snow crunching under our feet. We walk on smelling the crisp winter air wanting it all despite our stinging noses. We stroll on I feel the soft smooth birch bark ready to take flight. We hop from century old rock to century old rock resting in their snowy beds. Feel the soft spongy moss. imagine a small animal sleeping there. Fresh newborn pine wafts through the air as we get closer to Mill Pond. We get there Tall, proud, bare trees stand in the ice As if they rule the pond. Making our way back, the roots’ best friend, Ice, tries to slip one of us. We get closer to society, I hear the hum of the cars, then we step back to our normal lives as if the magic of the woods washed off of us. If only we got lost in the woods...
Would you be surprised to learn that Lilah Brackett is a fourth grader? Her poem “Lost in the Woods” shares with us an experience of the winter woods but does more than that. It expresses what nature lovers and outdoor people of all ages feel but find hard to put into words – that sense of respite that the natural world offers us, that break nature gives us from the rush of modern life.
Lilah wrote her poem after a walk with her class on the trails in the town conservation area behind her school. The Headwaters Conservation Area (HCA), surrounding Mill Pond and the headwaters of the Assabet River, is on the doorstep of Westborough’s Mill Pond School housing grades 4-6. Lilah’s teacher, Joan Sanders, has the wisdom and imagination to make use of the resources of the natural world in her teaching. She is doing what so many Westborough residents hoped that teachers would do when the school was built in a corner of conservation land.
Exploring the natural world helps kids – and the rest of us – exercise imagination and curiosity, and develop observational skills, patience, and perhaps long-term interests. Some turn to photography. For some, nature and the curiosity it arouses are a gateway to science. For others, nature becomes an inspiration for art, poetry, writing, music, or religious feelings.
These benefits are all reasons why townspeople and members of local land trusts, regional watershed organizations, and larger conservation organizations work to preserve land for future generations, build and maintain trails, and encourage their use.
Thank you, Lilah, for sharing the gift of nature. Thank you for reminding us to get lost in the woods