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The start of the walkway at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue (credit: Felicia LaLomia)

A walk through Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue felt a bit like taking a walk through the Scottish Highlands, although that might just be because I’ve been binging a little too much Outlander. 

The beginning of the trail, let’s call it the green oasis, has tufts of grass that resembled the hair of little trolls, as if their tiny heads might pop up out of the ground like moles and run around your feet. Tangles of greenery blocked both sides of the trail, making walking off the trail impossible. The path twisted and turned, and around every bend was another corner I was eager to explore. The curvy patterns of the trees seemed to have no order and grew as they pleased. And it was windy, the kind of wind that came from everywhere and nowhere. 

Around one corner, I smelled what would be around the next before I even saw it — the pungent and recognizable smell of manure filled my nose. From far away, they looked like giant marshmallows floating in the distant field, but upon closer inspection, I saw they were cows on the McCall Wines property. Large, white and tan, the creatures moved slowly, making calming mooing sounds as they did. A tall fence and several hundred yards of green field divided us. 

Then, we entered a different land. We turned the corner away from the farm as the wind quieted and colors changed. We left the green oasis and entered the golden land, where half of the crunchy leaves still somehow clung to their trees while the other half, that were not so successful, scattered the floor. They seemed to have an almost reflective quality to them, gilded in some kind of glow from within. Their light led my eyes up to the sky where the flashes of blue were covered by the puffs of soft clouds.

Conversation with my companion (boyfriend) covered politics, our binging shows of choice and trolls, oddly enough.

And then the land shifted again. As if to act as a transition from the golden land back to the greenery, patches of moss led us down to an inlet. Bright and pillowy, I imagined I would come across a fair maiden who may have grown weary and laid her head to rest upon them. 

Back on the trail, we came across trees from enchanted forests. One looked as if it had been bleached by the sun. Its leaves, dead, were transparent and rattled in the wind like shakers. Another nearby tree had holes in it, perfectly spaced to act like a flute only fit for a giant to play. And another tree, which was hollowed out, perfect for a fairy village.

And then slowly, the greenery returned and I knew the trail was coming to an end. The adventure was a welcomed distraction from my new quarantined life.

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