I cross the trestle bridge this morning to walk in the bright, cold meadow - I hope for a glimpse of summer color – a purple bloom, perhaps, on a flower drying, not yet lifeless. This never happens – the train is off schedule; I jump when I hear the whistle blow from the crossing at Hospital Road and hurry across with Charlie & Suzi. We scramble down the slope to the path and we're wading into the un-mowed, orange hay by the time the train approaches the bridge. I realize I've never watched the train cross from this side of the river, so, I hurry back. I see the conductor inside the car and wave - he waves and whistles for me, two friendly blasts. I have made contact with the train, and it with me. The dogs and I stand safely under the trestle at the edge of the Charles and watch the colorful graffiti painted cars rumble across.
Fourteen Novembers ago it was 2003. We had moved across town to this "new" neighborhood, river and woods. Frances was six. Our ritual, at Thanksgiving, was to walk in the woods near home to collect our evergreen branches and berries. Of course, we could easily have walked right out our new door, there are plenty for gathering here. But, for some years we drove across town to our old haunts. It was as if the berries and greens we gathered by the pond where we'd skated held an enchantment we had yet to find in our new woods.