This January’s winter tale at Oak Point Farm is truly one to stir the imagination of every child, no matter how old.
In Kate Messner’s story, “Over and Under the Snow,” winter is explored above and below the ground. As a young girl and her father spend a day cross-country skiing through a forest, he tells his daughter about the different critters sleeping below the snow, under ground.
From the book: “Under the snow is a whole secret kingdom …” Imagine being the daughter learning this as she glides across the snow. What might be under her feet as she skis over them?
Readers along Boothbay Region Land Trust’s (BRLT) Story Trail are sharing the same experience as the book characters simultaneously. And that is very cool.
As I walked along the trail reading the story aloud (for the winter animals and tree spirits) imagining what critter was below my feet, deep below, I imagined local families on this trail, little ones looking down on the leaf-covered trail (no snow when I was there) wondering if there was a bullfrog or a squirrel …
Father tells his daughter that animal tracks always tell a story. Animal hoof and/or paw prints are so much easier to spot in snow; on days without that blanket of white, the imagination has to kick in … not that that’s a problem! Maybe at some point along the trail, between pages, parents or accompanying adults could ask the child/children to look for signs an animal was (or is!) about.
Christopher Silas Neal’s illustrations are a delight, sometimes black and white alone, other pages are accented with color too – sometimes it’s just a whisper, other illustrations call for bolder colors. And, some colors, well some colors are blended in the imagination and cannot be described here.
The trail is lined with the stories of standing and fallen trees, nature’s shadows on the trail made by the sun, and the rocks bordering Hodgdon Cove. There are a few benches along the way for breaks or a little book talk. Winding around the Oak Point Farm property, the trail is approximately one mile.
Remember to bring a thermos of hot chocolate or bottle of water. If you’re bringing your canine family member, don’t forget his leash (dogs aren’t permitted to run free) ... and a few waste bags would be a good idea, too.
If there’s snow when you go, bring your sleds, saucers or inflatable tubes for sledding in front of the seasonal cottage not far from the parking lot. Or if skating is what you prefer, the two-acre freshwater pond is where you’ll be bound!
The January Story Trail featuring “Over and Under the Snow” will be up through Feb. 9. If you’ve never been, Oak Point Farm is at 60 Samoset Road in Boothbay Harbor. For more information about BRLT, visit www.bbrlt.org