322-7572; 322-5671

Walking notes

One of the surprises of recent weeks is the recognition of how the flowering shrubs of June end up as mystery berries in August. Who knew that honeysuckle ends up as a berry? For decades, hiking in the Eastern U.S. and Canada, we’ve seen bunchberry and clintonia go from flowering to producing berries, red and blue, respectively, but seeing it happen with other plants in abundance this year has been an eye-opener. We know the past five months have been really hard for everyone. One positive we’ve been able to take from this experience has been the opportunity to really see how the same roads, walked almost daily for months, can yield an appreciation for how the landscape changes over time. We’ve had the chance and the desire to see things we never noticed before. Maybe the lesson is to pay attention to what’s right in front of your face. That’s the real gift.

Speaking of berries…

Among the pleasures of living here in August is looking up from berry picking, seeing a clean blue sky, feeling a breeze on your face and listening to the sound of wind and birds. The taste of sun-warmed berries that don’t make it to the pail is sublime and the absence of flies is a bonus. A slightly sore back and creaky knees are small prices to pay for sharing with relatives and friends, and for the blessing of having this little piece of paradise on a blueberry patch in Searsmont.

Selectmen’s meeting

Eight people in person joined Zoom online participants at the Aug. 11 meeting, which lasted about two hours and included mention that the town has already approved a 10% budget cut as the state considers doing the same thing, and a discussion of ways (including signs) to slow down cars on several Searsmont roads. We’ve been hearing about that for the 30 years we’ve been here.

Looks like subjects of interest and decisions are picking up speed. SunDog Solar will provide an estimate on Community Building roof array repair costs, a new town information officer will be named soon and the upper lobby will be “home” to the town’s produce pickup program (see produce note below). The Aug. 25 meeting at 5 p.m. will include an informational forum with Assessors Agent James Murphy explaining the recent property revaluation. Contact the Town Office for more information.

Through Aug. 31 the cemetery sexton vacancy will be posted online and around town for people interested in the $1,000 a year job, with selectmen to choose someone in September. Check or call 342-5411 to find out how to “attend” the next Selectmen’s meeting by Zoom.

Too much produce?

Don’t know about you, but we planted too many vegetables this year, a good problem to have, and one that city folks do not experience. It’s too hot to can, so we’re giving some to Searsmont Garden Growth, a food-sharing program slated to move this week from the Ames School to the lobby of the Community Building. Otherwise we’re running out of people who want cherry tomatoes, kale, and summer squash. Time for middle-of-the-night doorstep deliveries?

Thank you, Belmont

For Searsmonters who avoid Route 3 to get into town and back home, the recent paving of Back Belmont Road has been a blessing. It means fewer wheel alignments for sure, and maybe no repeat of the bent rim caused by a man-eating pothole a year or two ago. Thanks to our Belmont neighbors for making the repairs, and to the road crews for the new culverts and blacktop. Nice work all around.

And, as always…

Practice physical distancing, wear your mask to protect other people, stay safe and be well.