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A Delicious Feast Of Humble Pie



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In June of 2016, this editor was concerned with the future of the newly envisioned Fruit Trail at Fairfield Hills, noting that reliance on volunteers for upkeep had the potential for turning creator Andrew Mangold’s dream into a nightmare.

“Our hope is that the enthusiasm for this vision made manifest also outlives each of us, and that along with delicious fruits, we are one day eating these words of concern,” concluded that editorial.

We are happy to report that we are doing just that, and hundreds of visitors to this trail winding its way through the Fairfield Hills Campus have been feasting not just on the ever more abundant seasonal berries from the bushes on the pathway, but feasting their eyes, as well, on the thriving flora.

Volunteers have stepped up each year to weed, prune, and coax the best out of the perennials that provide nourishment for birds and bugs, and offer haven for the vitally important pollinators. This past weekend, volunteers gathered with hoes in hand, taking directions to set right winter’s assault on the trail where needed, appraising the health of plants, and taking note of what improvements could be made. This early season beautification means that in the coming weeks and months, those who regularly walk this trail will be greeted with the colors of the seasons — and maybe a bite to eat.

Those who tend to gardens know that it takes but one turbulent storm or weeks-long drought to upend a season’s efforts. But if current and future enthusiasm remains strong, this pleasant piece of gardening in the heart of Newtown will continue to flourish.

What is remarkable about this fruit trail is that it has become a dream come true, that one person’s vision for an enhanced environment and faith in others has elevated an unkempt landscape into an inspired Eden. In a world where lives have been upended, where solace has been difficult to find, the Fruit Trail is a symbol of what determination can yield. The work of a few has benefited the lives of many.

Newtown is home to dreamers who create change on many levels: the musicians, magicians, writers, painters, and sculptors who use their crafts to educate, amaze, and amuse. The environmentalists, the conservationists, the people who see the good in technology and science; the teachers and healers, the builders and renovators: they all believe in the power of community and the power of people.

It is good, at times, to be proved wrong, to have doubts erased. That is where we stand with the success of the Fruit Trail, and it is a good place on which to be standing. The fruits of the labor of those who give of their time and talents are to be celebrated.

And yes, these gardens will continue to need the attention of volunteers willing to weed and water. To find out how you can help, contact Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold at 203-270-4340 or e-mail her through https://www.newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation.

Happy trails to you!

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