The weather is turning, the forsythia have forsythed; so you’re beginning to dream of heading out to Hood Pond, pushing your kayak into the water, or actually jumping in and splashing around, whatever it takes to get the most out of New England’s several hundred hours of summer. Break out the fishing pole. Let the kids squish around in the scum on the bottom. Feel that strange sensation of actual sunshine on your epidermis.
But dang, Hood Pond is a long way, isn’t it? If you live near Ipswich center, or God forbid even further east, it can take a heck of a long time to journey all the way to the freshwater of Hood Pond. Thirteen, possibly even 14 entire minutes. Depending on whether a cop is stationed in the Our Lady of Hope parking lot.
But I really do believe, if we can manage some relatively simple community organizing, you might soon be able to enjoy many of the benefits of Hood Pond without planning an all-day road trip. Here’s how.
On outer Linebrook Road, past Route 1 but before you get to my house, there’s a pothole, I mean a pretty massive pothole, on the westbound side of the street. I have not lived in Ipswich long, but I have lived here long enough to know about the potholes, and I can tell you, honestly, I have never seen a pothole of this size. It is cavernous. Scientists studying how echoes fool wildlife into changing their migration patterns could dress in khakis and safari hats and pack their gear down into this pothole and take readings. This pothole is big.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about our Ipswich pothole guys. I love our pothole guys. They faithfully grind out hours of thankless work — I say thankless because nobody goes on Facebook to post “What a nice smooth road!” The pothole guys work everywhere they possibly can, doing as high-quality a job as they possibly can, as fast as they possibly can.
Yet as I write these words, the massive pothole on the westbound side of Linebrook Road past Route 1 but before you get to my house has not yet been filled in. It is vast. And getting vaster — because every time the tires of a vehicle hit this pothole, its edges chip further away. (Of course, if drivers on outer Linebrook Road faithfully obeyed our very sensible 25 mph speed limit, they would have more than time enough to see said pothole and avoid it. But speeding on outer Linebrook is another subject, for another column. Or several.)
So my suggestion is simple — as follows: If you find yourself on outer Linebrook Road, and you have an opportunity to hit this colossal pothole, do so. As vehicles continue to take the edges off of the pothole, it gets larger, and by the time you read this, it will almost certainly rain again. The pothole will fill with H2O. Soon we’ll have an expansive, watery pothole wonderland — and much, much closer to Ipswich center than faraway Hood Pond. You’re going to save more than three miles round trip.
And this pothole-lake will be, at least for the time being, unregulated. Bring your boat, your beer, your homegrown recreational marijuana. Pothole Pond may exist long enough to undergo natural ecological transmutations and develop its own marsh system. You may be able to go clamming at Pothole Pond without a license, for who knows how many days, before the constable catches up with you!
Eventually, of course, the pothole guys will fill it in. They may have to pump it dry first, and demolish the lakeside homes constructed around its perimeter, before they fill it in, but they will almost certainly eventually fill it in. So let’s not delay. Please do your part. Do your civic duty. For the good of Ipswich, make an effort to get to outer Linebrook Road in the next few days, and when you see that gaping hole in the earth, don’t swerve to avoid it. Risk a little rack-and-pinion for the sake of our quality of life. Hit that sucker hard.
Oh, wait — looking out my window, just now, I see the pothole guys filling it in.
So never mind.