Knight Woods Loop Trail, Pownal


2021 resolutions – more walking, more writing.


Discovering the well-lit, meandering, 1-mile Knight Woods Loop Trail on this first day of 2021 was a wonderful find!


Bradbury Mountain, across Rt. 9 from Knight Woods, was packed on this New Year’s Day. Most kind souls were masked; the parking lot was jammed. That’s not for us pre-COVID; it’s certainly not our “cup of tea” during COVID. Frank and I have long been solitary partners.


We parked down the hill, below the swing set, and carefully walked Rt 9 to get to the path that led to the trail, beside the campground. In the hour, we spent walking and exploring, we saw one fat-tire biker and a young couple starting the trail just as we finished. That’s it.


Quiet. Peaceful. Solitary. We were able to walk in nature with masks pulled down, filling our lungs with fresh air.


The first 2-foot snowfall of the season is long since melted and the trail is back to being covered in dead fall leaves. The path is rutted with lots of roots to step over, but quite easy to navigate. It’s well-marked with purple rectangles on trees.


Hiking on the Kancamangus Highway in New Hampshire last fall, I recalled that trail was very closed in, and I couldn’t see the sky because of such dense forest. What I loved about Knight Woods today is that it was much more sparse. I could see far within the trees and the blue sky and sunshine overhead gave it a happy, welcoming feel.


How nature is chaotic – lots of downed trees and randomness of the foliage.

Today’s trail seems a perfect metaphor to our foray into a new year, a year we are so grateful to bring on in order to put 2020 behind us. I’ve been writing non-stop since 2002 – books, magazine articles, blog posts, website posts for MariaShriver.com and The Huffington Post – but March of 2020 shut my writing down. At first, it whispered to me and I tried to put fingers to keyboard…but there was too much noise all around us. I didn’t want to be a contributor to that. Although I hope my writing is uplifting and shows readers something new, even that felt irrelevant with so much important and frightening weighing all of us down.


Working remotely, my privacy was gone. My windows of time when I typically wrote were no longer my own.


I went with it, without remorse. I knew my well was empty. 2020 & the pandemic was a time to take a pause, take stock, pull inward, reflect, and fill the well.


Snowshoeing at Pineland Farms a few weeks ago stirred the sleeping giant. The snow and sunshine and exercise prompted me to take photos for the first time in nearly a year. My heart felt lighter. Words and thoughts began to seep into my brain. I was coming back. Coming back home – to myself, my optimism and hope, my desire to keep exploring and adventuring…..and write how all of it stirred me.

The water gurgled and flowed down rocks and under wooded walkways in the Knight Woods Trail. Other small ponds were coated with a very thin layer of ice, not thick enough to walk on. The green and browns and grays of the trees and path made me think of Hobbits and woodland fairies. Childrens’ voices from a distance made me think of Hansel & Gretl.


These are the things I want on my mind. I have always gratefully breathed in the fresh air whenever I’m outdoors – at the ocean, in the woods, paddling the lake. This New Year’s Day of 2021 filled me with gratitude for what I might have once done without thinking – on this day,

I was so grateful to breathe in the clean Maine winter air, along a deserted trail, that was beautiful in its chaos.


Cheers to all of us heading into this new year! Be well -