Monday, July 1, 2013

Pioneer Valley Summer Magic

A week of short, two-wheeled rambles through the countryside of the venerable Pioneer Valley produced some memorable visuals. I'd have to take up oils again to do them justice, but I snapped away, unable to stop.

First, a folio of Hadley views:

Hadley's Great Meadow -- some of the oldest farm fields in America

Hadley's Honeypot district, adjacent to the Meadow

Honeypot corn

Sculptural clouds above the stately Connecticut

For agricultural and history buffs, from the web site of the World Monuments Fund:
Located on the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts, Hadley was settled in 1659 by English Puritans. The colonists laid out a village, common, and an “open-field” farming system in the Great Meadow. This arrangement of slender, unfenced, elongated land parcels bounded by the river has endured since the time of the allotments to original settlers. Open-field farming was widespread in medieval and early modern Europe, but only the earliest New England settlements set up this type of agricultural system, and most had disappeared by the 18th century. This survival on such a large scale, over the centuries and through American industrialization in the northeastern United States, is incredibly improbable. 

Next, some shots from across the river in Deerfield.

A cool spot by the banks on a blazing day

After a beautiful climb over North Hillside Road, a descent led to more magic

The steed pauses for a drink on a humid afternoon

Waiting out the rain under a tree, five miles from home

There's beauty all about us, if we have eyes to see. Go for a ride today, rain or shine, and keep a lookout for surprises.

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