It was one of those beautiful, clear days in September that brought autumn days to mind. My schedule dictated an early release from work, so with a cool breeze blowing I decided to take a late afternoon walk at the Frank Melville Park in Setauket. Early in the spring, I had walked around the pond during my lunch hour, but now, with more time on my hands I decided to explore the preserve as well.
The first half of my walk took me around the pond. I don’t know if it was the time of day or the time of year but there seemed to be a wildlife convention going on. A good portion of the pond was filled with geese swimming lazily about, swans nibbling on the algae near the bridge and turtles resting on logs. Perhaps they all knew it was time to re-fuel or rest up before the next season came upon them. The autumn season was already tugging on the trees lining the pond, subduing the greens of summer with a hint of rust on their leaves.
All around the pond there were patches of Spotted Jewel-weed, looking a little tired at this time of year. Continuing on, I was surprised to find some Honeysuckle still exhibiting a healthy display of white flowers. The late summer flowers were all making a valiant effort to display their brilliant colors before the bright colors of autumn set in.
At the back end of the pond, there is an old grist mill. When I walked around the pond in early spring, the wheel had been removed, either for repairs or to prevent damage over the winter. On this day, it was in place and turning slowly, matching the lazy mood of the day. The door of the mill has a scene painted on the window panels. It is a scene that has captured the essence of Long Island.
Next to the grist mill is the entrance to the preserve and located just within the boundary of the preserve is a bench. It calls out an invitation to the passerby to sit and meditate on the different worlds of the park and preserve.
Shortly after entering the preserve I came across a rather small Pokeweed, still dressed in delicate white flowers. I was rather surprised at this find since most of the Pokeweed I have come across in the last few weeks has grown several feet tall; flowers long gone and berries almost completely consumed by the local wildlife.
The trail eventually led to an open area with benches arranged in a way to allow the traveler to rest a while; absorbing the restorative powers of nature. This was the far end of the preserve. As the path led back towards the pond, there were short side paths leading towards the marsh. Taking one of these paths, I was able to observe the activity of dragonflies and other insects reflected in the late afternoon sunlight.
As I neared the end of my walk, I discovered a Damselfly resting on a leaf. It stayed long enough for me to get a decent picture and then moved on. Even though my walk was less than 1.5 miles, I had taken an hour to enjoy what nature had to offer.