i got up this morning to go to the coolidge reservation in manchester-by-the-sea, about a 40 minutes drive north of cambridge. i picked the place because there was a beach nearby and i figured there'd be more interesting things to see. alex wong, who was the driver, dropped off some unused pots and pans at my place (as part of his spring cleaning). alex is a self-conscious driver who likes to ask "how's my driving?" from time to time. i think he drives aggressively, leaving only a few feet worth of space between the car in front of us. if our tailgated friend decided to break suddenly for whatever reason, i tried to imagine how violently i'd be thrown out of the car at 80mph. my right foot was pressed down on an imaginary break pedal the whole trip.

the weather was cold when we got there, temperature in the 30's with a strong wind. coolidge reservation is actually much smaller than i imagined it, but we still managed to spend a few hours there. we first walked through a forest bordering a pond (clarke pond), not so remote that we couldn't see and hear the cars traveling on a nearby road. there were mallard ducks and seagulls swimming on the water, while in the pond itself i thought i saw some small fish (or perhaps tadpoles) darting about. spring signs far and few, the landscape still gripped in winter. we crossed a small stream and took a path that led us to gray beach (overlooking magnolia harbor). we knew we were getting closer to the beach as the dirt on the forest floor became sand and there was dried seaweed everywhere.

moss on rocks

clarke pond


ice shelf

clarke stream

frozen moss

frozen pond ice

grey beach

grey beach

there was more to see on the beach, although not so much in terms of wildlife other than the few seagulls nearby dropping clamshells from the sky or the abundance of different varieties of seaweed. i was hoping for maybe a washed up carcass of some sea creature, but at most i only saw a crab claw or a skate's egg case. here and there were damaged lobster traps, washed up on the beach. i picked up a few pieces of sea glass, which compared to the usual beach pebbles seem like jewels. there wasn't a single cloud in the sky and if only the weather wasn't so cold it'd have been a great day. we walked the length of the beach, eventually coming to a point where there was more seaweed than sand, the stink of rotting salted ocean vegetation overwhelming. i tried to imagine the property value of the few beach front houses nearby ("great view, horrible smell"). we left the beach and walked the paved roads back to our parking spot.

crab claw

knotted wrack

sea glass

sea brick

seaweed medley

mussel shell

mermaid's purse

mussel clutch

irish moss

driving back, we made our way to davis square, where alex sat in the car because he didn't want to feed the meter while i went and ordered some wings. during the 15 minute wait i went down the street to the goodwill store, still looking for a suitable belt for my buckle. after our order was ready, we came back to my place where we watched bad television (E! true hollywood story: baywatch) and ate wings in the late afternoon. i got the wrong kind of wings, mild instead of medium, so there was very little kick. alex had the hot wings, his mouth a circle of red, blue cheese dripping down to his chin which he didn't bother wiping off even after i told him about it. he hung out for a little bit more before leaving.

after he left, i fell asleep on the couch while watching law & order: special victims unit. i love that show, and i love how the USA network shows it whenever possible. i wish there was a whole channel devoted to SVU so i could watch it all the time. i woke up around 9pm, made some rice noodle ramen for dinner.