People walk or run (or ski or cycle…) “the Loop” for many reasons. Team practices often begin with short or long runs around the Loop, but just as many people walk it for pure recreation and reflection. Photography classes roam in search of landscapes and organic details, and near one of the old barns, faculty members maintain garden plots. The Loop is a place that represents an odd combination of solitude and companionship: You might set out alone, but you’re sure to bump into someone you know.
You might think that circling the Loop repeatedly is boring, because nothing changes—but in fact the opposite is true. There is a clear sense of continuous change. In the spring, delicate fiddleheads pop up at the edges of the road. After planting, the corn grows so fast you can almost see it stretching itself skyward. Silage piles grow all summer, and then diminish all winter. The road surface and route changes during periods of rain and flooding, and occasionally some parts of the road disappear completely.
Almost every trip through the Loop results in an encounter with animal life. The ponds are full of fish. Blue heron, rabbit, ducks, and geese are common, but deer and bear have also been spotted—not to mention the cows, sheep, and goats that call the Loop home. At night, coyotes can be heard yipping and playing, and that might explain why some believe the ghosts of Deerfield settlers haunt the north meadows.
The Loop isn’t completely wild… It returns to campus along the north end of Old Main Street, granting its users a gentle return to society. It passes a dairy farm, museum houses, and faculty residences, then the Inn and Post Office…finally reconnecting with campus at Boyden Lane, just past the Brick Church.