One mystical September morning, walking through the mist-swathed fields of Topsmead with my poodle Gloria, the moisture-laden air dampening our topknots, I could feel the last sighs of summer, despite the stillness of the air. As we continued on through the fields from one end to the other, the treelines slowly disappeared behind us as the next ones appeared slowly ahead. The top o’ the meadow was truly our private cloud.
Continuing our walk along the side of one of the fields, we were both startled by a distinct crashing in the treeline. Uh oh was my first thought. A bear. Better be careful. But as we stood stock still listening, the sound developed into a non-bear-like pattern. Silence. Then something hurtled through the leaves down from the height of the trees and landed on the ground with a small thud. Silence. Repeat. I recognized that sound pattern. At this time of year, I am often awakened by the thudding of pinecones on my bedroom roof. The noisemakers are squirrels chewing off the cones that then hurtle down, hitting my roof with a thud, sounding like kids throwing an arsenal of snowballs. Gloria and I quietly stepped closer to confirm my theory. Sure enough, the culprits were squirrels; however, the trees were beech trees, not pine trees, and the squirrels were harvesting beechnuts, not pine cones, to add to their winter stash. Mystery happily solved.
Continuing our walk brought us to...well, I am not going to tell you where our walk brought us. All I will say is that I was in a noticing, mystery-solving mode, and I noticed something out of place. Upon closer inspection, that something turned out to be a waterproof, Tupperware-type, plastic box that should have been in a kitchen cabinet. Inside the box I found a cute stamp and inkpad, a sign-in booklet with the DEEP seal, and a page of directions for letterboxing. The top of the box said “Letterbox.” Way cool!
What is letterboxing you might ask? Well, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website, “In letterboxing, you visit interesting locations and collect unique stamps to mark your visit. The letterboxes that DEEP's Division of Forestry is placing in Connecticut’s State Forests provide the means and inspiration for you to visit the State Forests and learn something about the state’s history, wildlife, trees and, of course, the forests!” The website also explains that, “In 2003, in honor of the Centennial of the State Forest System, Connecticut DEEP's Division of Forestry invited the public to visit these State Forests, by placing a series of letterboxes throughout the State Forests.” Check out the DEEP website here to learn more about letterboxing, and then have a go at finding the one at Topsmead. I can promise that the box will be there waiting for you!
If you find the Topsmead letterbox, do share your discovery below, but please don’t give away its location! And do share below any of your personal Topsmead mystery moments!