Water Closet for June 2, 2017
As the spring-summer paddle season resumes in earnest on the Ipswich River, Middleton Stream Teamers want to remind paddlers of our landings and the talented man who greatly added to their appearance and safe use. The following is an essay published in October 2010.
“Maybe some intrepid historian will learn that four hundred years after the Indians and two hundred after the Colonists, a stone loving man from distant Rome had placed stones not for his own castle or mill, but for people he didn’t even know.”
For the steps at Maple Street we learned that for years he had been picking out large flat stones he happened upon in his work. One time a couple Stream Teamers saw them laid out waiting in his back yard. And then last year there they were, some weighing a ton, artistically placed where once rotting steps made of old railroad ties had been. Visit the landing there and descend on a half dozen great native rocks to the river. One is seven feet across. To their sides higher stones invite one to sit after a canoe trip or when just passing the time, perhaps with a snack from Farmer Brown’s across the river. It is pleasing to imagine generations hence sitting there letting the passing water sweep their troubles away.
Let’s go with that flow of diluted-washed-away-worries two miles down river. Upon rounding a great curve in the shade of silver maples off the Greenbelt’s field just up from Peabody Street we are greeted with great stones arranged in a most attractive way, not steps at all, rather a sculpture to sit upon. One stream teamer yearly visits there with his young grandson. The old man sits on one of the stones and watches as the boy 70 years younger wades below him in the gravel and sand shallows. Before Vito’s gift the landing had been an eroding bank of briars. Visitors will find the Peabody Street site as pleasing to the eye from above in the little park as it is from an approaching canoe or kayak. A couple years ago a Stream Teamer on passing one fine early morning saw a man sitting at the picnic table above the stones smoking. His motorcycle was parked nearby. The strangers chatted quietly for a bit. The cyclist said he stopped each day to clear his mind en route home from the graveyard shift at his workplace. He was obviously content and so was his new acquaintance upon hearing the simple story. Such places are needed ‘round and about any town. Before Vito’s steps the land along the river there had been a rubbish strewn parking area with wheel rut puddles inside a moldering roadside safety barrier.
The other evening the Stream Team met, appropriately at the Historical Society’s Museum, and agreed to name the Maple Street access park Vito’s Landing. There were no dissenting voices; all were happy with the choice. The selectmen will be asked for their approval. We know that long after this generation of Stream Teamers and Vito have been forgotten the inviting stones will be there. Maybe some intrepid historian will learn that four hundred years after the Indians and two hundred after the Colonists, a stone loving man from distant Rome had placed stones not for his own castle or mill, but for people he didn’t even know.
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||Feb||Mar||April||May|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||3.25||6.65||4.53||4.06|
|2017 Central Watershed Actual||3.46||2.86||6.53||5.9**as of May 26|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For May 26, 2017 Normal . . . 59 CFS Current Rate . . . 75.3 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru April.
** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for May.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584