Silent autumn reflections

Colorful foliage reflects in a cove along the Cocheco River just a few blocks from downtown Dover. At one time, the site was used to cut blocks of ice each winter for sale to cities to the south each summer.
The picture was taken from this former railroad bridge that’s now a highlight of the Community Trail.

Now, if we only had a place to put a canoe or kayak into the water.

A troubling cry

X-ing out Community.

This splash of graffiti, defacing another’s work hailing the Dover Community Trail, offends me on several counts. One is its very hostility to any greater good. Community Trail means public, open to all, yet this anonymous voice seemingly opposes that. I doubt they’d want it to be posted No Trespassing, either. As for the “us”? How about standing up and identifying yourself? You sound pretty alienated, lonely, and ultimately selfish to me.

Here’s the companion mural on the adjacent bridge pillar along the Cocheco River.

All the renovation going on in town

Followers of this blog have seen the ongoing transformation of my small city’s downtown into a residential mecca.

We’re fortunate to be in a part of the country that has appeal based in part on its proximity to the ocean and mountains as well as the big-city attractions of Boston an hour away, without the crowding and cost of living.

The elimination of the bottlenecks between us and Interstate 95 ten miles away has also made Dover a more affordable real estate alternative compared to Portsmouth’s bloated high prices – even though I’m still in sticker-shock-land when I see what the purchases and rentals are going for. (Who can afford this?)

I had wondered, too, what the impact of all the new luxury apartments downtown would have on the older apartments. Would rental prices fall as a result? Some of the places were what you might call sketchy. And some, even only a few blocks from our place, are distinctly slummy.

What’s surprising me is the number of older rentals that are undergoing upgrades. Plumbing, windows, drywall, kitchens, flooring, even the wiring. It seems to be happening everywhere, though largely out of sight unless you start knocking on doors.

I’m still nervous about the economy in general, but it seems Dover’s in a good place to bounce back after Covid.

Aloft in color

Hardwoods along the high school athletic field.

The Columbus Day weekend is typically touted as “prime foliage” across much of New England, though we can quibble. In truth, the leaves of the deciduous trees change color in waves rather than all at once. Many are already bare, while many others are still green. And this year, severe drought has taken a toll, too.

Sometimes they seem aflame.

While Allen Ginsberg once quipped, “New England, famed for red leaves,” the reality is that few trees fulfill that vision. Far more are golden or buttery. Still, we keep looking.

By the end of the month, our landscape will emerge monotone – and likely remain that way well into March. Knowing what’s ahead, we savor what we can now.

The Cocheco River at Whittier Falls.
Don’t forget to look underfoot, too. And don’t overlook the impact of purple.


For my in-depth thoughts and photos reflecting New England’s fall folige, check out my posts from September and October 2013 at my Chicken Farmer I Still Love You blog.

A few other Granite State bloggers

Coming up on my tenth year of blogging, I can say I’ve seen a lot of changes in the online practice and what’s being posted.

One of the joys, no doubt about it, is connecting with other bloggers in our shared interests.

I happen to live in a fairly small state, about a million and a half population, with the majority of them living in the Merrimack Valley in the lower middle third of the geography, or along the towns bordering Massachusetts or in the compact Seacoast region. In other words, most of the residents dwell in a connected swath that leaves the bulk of the state pretty rural.

It’s always fun to read blogs by others who post from nearby and often to weigh in with my own comments or to hear theirs.

By the way, I think every place feels special, or should. Take heart, wherever you are, and celebrate what’s worthy.

Gardening is big here, and the state has always had more than its share of poets. That could provide its own Tendrils listing.

As a sampling, here are ten other blogs from the Granite State. I have a feeling I’m missing some significant others that aren’t tagging the state – say people serializing their novel or focusing on poetry or some other topic. I’d like to hear about these in the comments.


  1. Gifts in Open Hands: Maren C. Mirabassi is a fine poet and retired United Church of Christ pastor, two labors she blends with a sensitive social conscience at this site. She writes from the Seacoast region.
  2. New Hampshire Garden Solutions: What started out as a gardening blog has morphed into an exploration of the natural world, focused in the southwestern corner of the state – the Monadnock region, mostly. The posts are typically a walk in the woods and detailed photos identifying the wildlife along the way. It’s like hiking with a truly knowledgeable naturalist.
  3. New England Garden and Thread: A Master Gardener (she’s passed the curriculum) and avid quilter, this grandmother roams far beyond the the planted beds and covered beds for her posts. Welcome to her world.
  4. New Hampshire Gardening: John Kittredge, a former environmental science teacher at Brookline High School, has been chronicling his garden work this year. This is serious.
  5. Protean Wanderer: The White Mountains fill much of the state. Here are reports on many of the great trails and mountain climbs, accompanied by photos. As you’ll discover, there are many fine choices to consider.
  6. Ink Link, Where All Things Manchester Connect: Carol Robideaux, one of my favorite reporters in the years I spent in the newsroom, has lately been covering the state’s Queen City on her own. In an era of struggling journalism, one person can make a difference.
  7. Milford Street: Photography by Christopher O’Keefe, who works from Manchester. Yes, here’s how it looks.
  8. A Life of Granite in New Hampshire: A native of Sri Lanka, Anura Garuge now posts prolifically from his adopted Granite State. I’m guessing he lives somewhere between Rochester and Laconia, meaning not too far from me, yet he captures a much different terroir.
  9. Why Pears: Ellen Garnett, a talented 24-year-old poet in Exeter, tends “this little rabbit hole” addressing “those peripheral items, ideas, emotions and stories that don’t always receive the attention they deserve.” As she says, it’s writing that tickles the mind.
  10. Ragged Good Looks: Technically not a New Hampshire blog, this one comes from across the state line in Kittery, Maine – what we sometimes think of as a Portsmouth suburb. I love the young artist-on-the-make vibe and daily realities. Besides, it’s just downstream from us.

One other I’ll mention is Isabel Povey, where a 17-year-old Pinkerton Academy beauty queen posts with all of the gushing exuberance you might expect, even in a Covid-restricted era. Yeah, her Seeds of Hope is mostly self-promotion, but I find it refreshing.

We bloggers aren’t all retirees or struggling arts and writers! Yay!

And then the state often pops up in posts by visiting bloggers. Have you ever been here?