Henry and Susan’s benches


Just a half-mile long, Capisic Pond Trail is a world away from and cozied right up to the streets that bound it.


Capisic Pond Trail was a revelation to me the second time I walked it. The first time, a year or two ago, I was drawn by the wild (or garden-escaped) pale-lavender beebalm and the cozy wooded sidepaths to the sun-dappled rippling brook that runs out of the pond.

But I didn’t see much of the pond. Hardly anything. I could catch a glimpse of what I thought might be it, but it looked to be filled with aquatic plant life and blended in with everything else that was green.

This time, though, the water was clearly there beyond masses of wildflowers, wild grasses, and aquatic plants. It was a bright, sparkly day, and the pond was a cheery sight. As I got to the Capisic Street end of the trail, here’s what I saw:



Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t see this the last time. I did walk the entire trail — I thought.

I walked a little way up Capisic Street to the bridge over the upper end of the brook and the pond — for some reason, I hadn’t thought to do that before. From there you look out over the pond, the trail, and to the left, a large, imposing-yet-comfy-looking home and yard inhabited by some very lucky people.

According to my current reference (“Deering: A Social and Architectural History,” Patricia McGraw Anderson and William David Barry; Greater Portland Landmarks), there was a kerfuffle in the mid-1800s because “tripes” were washed in the stream above the pond in the summer, and then in the winter ice was harvested from the pond. Tripe is stomach lining from various farm animals — I’ve heard of it being from cows, and I really only know this because my father liked it; it was always a joky topic in our family. I guess using ice that tripe had been washed in didn’t do much for the stomachs of the humans in the area!

IMG_1092Here and there on the trail you come across a bench with someone’s first name on it. I saw Henry, Susan, and Harvey. It tugged at my heart a little bit to see these — my guess is that the little plaques are a way to remember or pay tribute to the donors’ loved ones. It’s a lovely thought — sit on Henry’s bench, absorbing the beauty all around, and think about what Henry meant to you and how he still lives in your heart and in his connection with everything else. Or sit on Henry’s bench and think about someone else that you care about.

Capisic Brook runs out of the Fore River, and the pond is bounded by Capisic, Lucas, Macy, Harvey, Presnell, and Machigonne streets, Brighton Avenue, and Sandy Terrace. It’s right in people’s back yards, in the middle of our city.






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