The secret life of the critters who populate a rather quaint and very charming city park.
I am Bartholomew J. Bellwether, the keeper of scrolls of Maplewood Park, an inherited honor and responsibility, passed on to me after thirty-three generations. We Bellwethers have always been storytellers and chroniclers. Possibly a divinely placed gift within our genetics, but more likely a role assumed because of our shortcomings in more productive endeavors such as nut gathering.
Each morning I rise to survey the goings on in our one hundred and twenty acres of peace and quiet, this realm of truce between the world of men and the world of the rest of us. Most squirrels spend their days chasing and chattering; I spend my days listening and looking.
A good beginning might be to show you around Maplewood Park. The park is a perfect square, neatly confined by black wrought iron fence with gates and corners constructed out of gray flagstone and mortar.
There are four gates to the park: the Fisherman's Gate, so named because of its proximity to the wharfs, the Gallows Gate, so named for an ancient instrument of justice that once stood nearby, the Market Gate, a name derived from the farmers' market that still takes place every Saturday, and the Cathedral Gate, named - of course - for St. Stephen's Church that casts its afternoon shade over the big maple tree known as the Colonel. My residence is in the fourth branch from the top one the sunrise side of the tree.
Maplewood Park is a set of winding brick paths that all lead nowhere except somewhere else in the park. Tidy yet sturdy green benches line the paths, typically about twenty yards apart. Here and there the path eddies off into a cozy courtyard, some featuring bronze statues of famous authors, some featuring picnic tables, and others, those necessary facilities for the human visitors to this place.
The Lady's Rose Garden, a rather extensive maze of roses of all varieties is a popular spot, as well as Sparrow Fountain, a gathering place for old lovers and children who love to sail their sailboats. But my favorite spot - and I visit it daily - is the Old Clockmaker's Carousel, a rich matron's gift to the park.
But enough for now. Now I must ready for bed, for a night's sweet sleep beneath a sky full of stars and a tree full of friends, all the while listening to the whistling of Officer Donahue as he passes beneath my berth.