April 20, 2010

In Massachusetts, town selectmen are required to “walk the bounds” every five years, identifying town boundary markers and replacing any that are missing.

While such an idea might be considered quaint in this day of GPS locators and mapping systems, it is still a good idea on any propery. An even better idea is to make it a seasonal event.

If you haven’t walked your “bounds” of late, Earth Day might be an appropriate day to do so. How better to celebrate your connection with the earth than to get up close with your own piece of ground.

Renew your awareness of how it lays and how and where it connects to your neighbors. It’s a chance to identify situations before they become problems, fix things that need to be fixed and generally appreciate the land and its features.

With that in mind, add a few things to your pockets or pack before you start. A small notebook and pencil for lists and locations, a multi-purpose fence pliers and a few staples for on-the-spot fence repair and a good walking stick for pushing brambles aside are traditional tools for such a walk.

It might be advisable to leave behind distracting cell phones. However, adding a digitial camera for reminder shots is a good idea.

Of course, walking the bounds in the midst of spring’s plenty has short and long term benefits. Depending on your location, spring flowers, budding fruit trees and even magical morel mushrooms may provide immediate rewards. Knowing the location of those fruit trees and berry brambles may provide reason for future visits as well, not that a walk in the country isn’t its own reward!

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