New Maryland Walking Trails Wind Phone
BILL HUNT: Help is a wind phone call away.
Printed with Permission
Rockland Miller and Tim Scammell lost loved ones less than a month apart last year.
They believe they’ve found a way to restore a connection of sorts.
Scammell, the Deputy Mayor of the Village of New Maryland, and Miller, the public works supervisor for the village of 4,200 just outside Fredericton, worked together to install a “wind phone” on a tree along the New Maryland trail last week.
A “wind phone” is a non-functioning telephone which allows those who have lost a loved one to “talk” to them again.
Miller lost his mom Shirley, last December. She died unexpectedly in surgery. He never got a chance to say goodbye.
What would he say to her if he could?
“Just that I miss her,” he said, choking back tears.
Scammell’s dad Doug died suddenly in early November.
“I’d tell him about the Leafs,” said Scammell, managing a sentimental smile.”He was a diehard fan right to the end. I miss him…we all miss him.”
According to Wikipedia, the wind phone was originally created by Japanese garden designer Itaru Sasaki in 2010 to help him cope with his cousin’s death. It was opened to the public in the following year after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami killed over 15,000 people. The wind phone there has since received over 30,000 visitors.
Others have been created in several communities since. There are more than 100 registered on the mywindphone.com website, including in Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, and all over the United States. In Canada, there are phones registered in Quebec, Newfoundland, British Columbia and one in Digby, N.S. Scammell registered the New Maryland phone with the website earlier this week.
Scammell said his wife Cheryl saw a news article about a wind phone in Canada in January and forwarded it to him.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘Wow, what a great idea,” he said.
He took the idea to New Maryland council, which paid for the purchase of materials to construct a small cabinet for the phone, which Miller built. A friend of Scammell’s from Bell donated the phone, Mike Hay of Traffic Depot donated a plaque which reads, in part :
“This Wind Phone is for all who grieve.
You are welcome to find solace here.
Please use it to connect with those you have lost.
To feel the comfort of their memory.
May you hear their voices in the wind.
May you be at peace with your losses.”
The total cost of the project was less than $100, Scammell said.
Believed to be the first in New Brunswick, the New Maryland phone is located about 500 metres into the woods along the Fletcher’s Walk loop in the New Maryland Nature Trails, which are behind the New Maryland Centre. It’s mounted in a walnut stained box on a cedar tree next to a bench where you can sit and talk as long as you like. Miller drilled an extra hole in the receiver with the idea that a blowing wind would create a comforting sound in the ear of the user.
“I see a lot of value in this,” said Scammell. “We won’t know. People will come back here and… I think it’s going to get a lot of use.”
“I know there are people out there who, even if you did get to say what you wanted to say in the end, there’s probably more you wish you could have said.” Scammell said.
“It’s to help people dealing with grief and loss.”
The wind phone is circled in yellow at the top left where Fletcher’s Walk meets Cameron’s Loop.
2021 Boardwalk Replacement
The New Maryland Nature Trails (behind the New Maryland Centre) are a popular destination for walking, snowshoeing, bird watching, rock lovers, and nature enthusiasts. A 151 metre length of boardwalk in Cameron’s Loop was recently removed and replaced with 115 metres of crusher dust and 36 metres of elevated boardwalk. Click here to see more information and pictures.
We are very fortunate to have a network of walking trails located behind the New Maryland Centre (754 New Maryland Highway). The trail system has three unique sections: Fletcher’s Walk, Charter’s Way and Cameron’s Loop. A uniquely designed 42 foot span suspension bridge is also an unexpected but awe-inspiring sight. The trails are enjoyed by many residents for walking, nature hikes, snow shoeing, and bird watching. The trail system was developed as a result of hundreds of hours of volunteer work, and donations from organizations, individuals, and families.
For more information, please contact the Recreation department.