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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

A Magic Place

Posted by | November 26, 2012

I stopped short on the wooden boardwalk of the Laird-Norton Trail. The fog of my breath flew a few more feet ahead of me, dissipating slowly in the still air. It was my first time at the Reserve, and I was alone in the woods.

And something was coming towards me. Something big.

I tried to swivel my ears in the direction of the sound. Picture a grown man in a business suit, in a ski hat with pinned-up earflaps, trying to swivel his ears.

Crunch-crunch, crunch-crunch, crunch-crunch it came, approaching quickly.

It was a bright Monday morning in April, still refrigerator cold but with the occasional tantalizing warm breath of spring. Driving back to New York after some meetings in Portland, I'd stopped off at a rumored corner of the coast to stretch my legs. I had my camera with me, because I always do when I'm out in the woods.

I'm glad I did, because something was coming. It was in the brush, off the trail, definitely on its way somewhere through the bright green skunk cabbage and the brambles.

And it was getting closer. A turkey? A deer? ...a moose?

I raised my camera to my eye.

The coyote trotted out of the brush like a ship out of the mist. It was brown, white, healthy, the size of my childhood husky, Buck. It was 20 feet away.

I whistled softly. The coyote stopped short and snapped its head toward me. The fog of its breath puffed from its muzzle.

We stared at each other. Thousands of years of human and coyote history floated between us; two worlds met. I snapped my picture. The coyote darted into the underbrush, gone in a second, only the retreating sounds of its morning jog hanging in the air.

I exhaled. My breath again hung in front of me, catching the sun. A magic moment; a magic place.

The coyote's image stays with me like a scene captured in a snowglobe.

Where's Waldo (the Coyote)?

Woodland tangle. Can you pick out the coyote?

Maybe you've got a similar memory from the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Maybe you've been here on a brisk morning, or at sunset, in the snow or at the height of summer. Maybe you've heard the sound of the waves on our fragile, perfect beach, a reminder that this place, where the rivers meet the sea, is full of wonder.

Or maybe you haven't been here in years — or ever. Maybe you should visit your Reserve.

Thirty years ago, a dedicated group of local folks joined together to save these 2,250 quiet, gentle acres, because they knew how remarkable they were.

After my first visit, and my first coyote, I did too.

Would you make a donation to our Annual Fund this month if it meant that this place would be open and available this year and for years to come, so that you and so many others could rediscover its magic again and again? To watch migrating geese splash down into the river, monarch butterflies alight on trembling milkweed, schools of minnows ripple the water, nonchalant coyotes on a morning trot?

All that and more are here at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm every day, but only with your help. This holiday season, we've set a goal to raise $60,000 for ongoing research, education, and conservation work that branches out from the Reserve up and down the Maine coast. With your continued support, science, art, and music will blossom here at Laudholm, too.

It's a great time to give, because with your support, here's what else is coming up:

  • In February, over the school break week, we're hosting a sledding party on the farmhouse hill (provided there's snow). Snowshoes are available as well.
  • In the spring, we'll be embarking on more self-led walking and fitness programs and hosting a big volunteer day on May 18th.
  • Next June I hope to bring a full orchestra here to our lawn for a rousing performance to accompany the symphony nature so graciously plays us.
  • The summer will be filled with musical performances, art and antique shows, and of course, our 26th Annual Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival, bigger than ever.

But all this can only happen with your help. This season, I'm counting on you to remember this place and what it means to you. A year-end contribution to our Annual Fund will help keep the Wells Reserve at Laudholm open and protected, yours to visit and yours to share. This place, supported by you, is for all of us: members, students, seniors, families, scientists, Mainers, tourists... even coyotes.

Thank you for your support and happy holidays.

There's Waldo:

Coyote in underbrush, revealed

P.S. You're welcome to join us at our Annual Meeting on December 5th — please RSVP today. And we'd love to see you join as a volunteer this year, too. Won't you join hundreds of other staunch supporters by making a gift today?

P.P.S. Along with a donation, why not purchase a poster and a book from the Laudholm Store this holiday season? They're the perfect gifts for introducing your family and friends to the Wells Reserve at Laudholm this year.

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