Somebody took my foxes...and my pheasants.
Coming home up the back side, the Centre Street side, of the Arnold Arboretum today, I missed them yet again in their absence. I used to see both and other wildlife dashing, cavorting and even canoodling across and beside the road. They'd pass from or to the urban wild on the other side, a Forest Hills Station/arboretum sandwich. What was visible, sudden and at home seemed out of place in a big city and was most welcome.
Often I'd bike that route. That gave me the advantage of relative silence and apparent slow movement. A red fox would notice me but not panic. Slick helmet and all, I might be another funny animal with round feet.
I had seen my feathered and furry chums for over a decade when the city and state put a very sensible, virtually unused gravel pedestrian way from the T to the trees. While this looks reasonable on a map, they were really clearing out the urban wild and destroying the animal and bird habitat. It appears that the underlying reasoning was a response to neighbors' complaints that other urban wildlife -- junkies and hookers -- liked to cavort in this space as well.
Fie on the victimless crime committers!
Fact is, virtually everyone who takes the Orange Line or a bus to FH, headed for the arboretum, walks up the sidewalk to the nearest Arboretum/Route 203 gate. That's where the roses, lilacs and frog ponds are.
My family has a tie to the urban wild that disappeared in 2001. We had walked the Emerald Necklace under the stiff-spined leadership of Boston Park Ranger Jim Gorman. We had a youth and toddler for the long trek.
Shortly after, we saw that he would lead a tour of urban wilds in southern Boston (JP area). We went with him and saw the several, including the Centre Street area.
Gorman was Dudley Do-Right in bloom. He looked as though he was born to the pointed ranger hat and he certainly must have been an Eagle Scout. I suppose that one never stops being one any more than one is an ex-Marine.
He picked up the Bud cans and handed them to our boys for their trash bags. Meanwhile, he showed up the possums, squirrel nests, racing fox, and astonishing variety of birds. The ranger loved his wilds.
Now, the Centre Street wild is an antiseptic, well-mowed, junky-free blah. Miles South, I can still see my pheasants running across Unquity Road as I bike back through Milton. My gilded and glistening buddies, the forest in town, are gone.
Tags: massmarrier, Boston, urban wild, Arnold Arboretum