Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fallen Leaves, Winchester

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: Caleb Beach knew this place as Green Woods, and he built his house at the top of a long valley, on a slope above Hall Meadow Brook. The remains of the Old Valley Road still pass by his door before they disappear into the pond a half mile on. Just north of Caleb's house, apple trees, running wild, explode with several varieties of apples and the air smells of cider. Further on where the brook crosses the upland are the remains of millraces and the foundation of an old mill, but there is nothing here to tell if these pieces belong to each other. 

Caleb Beach built on a mound on the west side of the gently sloping valley we call “Hall Meadow." Farther west a rocky spine of forested hillside still rises steeply and separates Caleb's valley and watershed from the valley that channeled what we call "Ruben Hart Brook.” However, Caleb Beach built his house where the late rays of the sun would still touch his doorsteps, even as the shadows of the hillside to the west slid east across his valley lifting a veil of twilight over the orange and red blaze of the opposing hillside. 

Today both Valleys are dammed; Hart Brook fills a reservoir managed by the Torrington Water company, and Hall Meadow serves as a flood impoundment. Where their waters unite, the East Branch of the Naugatuck River begins.