holt pond (medfield)

a single autumn day special of temperatures in the 60's meant that i'd be out riding the motorcycle. while eating a late breakfast i was looking over maps, seeing where i could go. i picked noon hill and the shattuck reservation, a trustees reservation 6 towns southwest of cambridge, about 20 miles away. i packed up my gear and left. cruising down small highways, with the warm sun on my face, and colored leaves swirling everywhere, the day could not be any better. if you dress warm enough, fall is the best time for riding in new england. the best routes are down long stretches of road where the trees form canopies and you're just going down corridors of colors, a kaleidoscope of orange and red and orange and green. i passed many other bikers along the way, all out enjoying the weekend weather like i was.

like many trustees reservations, noon hill is very much hidden and not advertised at all. you don't know you're there until you arrive. i followed the memory map in my head, and just when i was starting to lose hope that maybe i got lost, i found the place, with a few cars parked in a small roadside parking area. i locked my helmet to the bike, took off a layer of jacket, strapped on my bags, and headed into the woods.

noon hill (medfield)

i'd been to medfield one other time, back in june when i visited rocky woods, one of the rare trustees places where you have to pay to enter ($5 for parking). as the name implies, rocky woods has a lot of glacial erratics. the best part is a boardwalk that crosses a lilypad covered pond. as for noon hill, i walked around holt pond. at the end of the pond fed by a small brook, the ground was covered in sphagnum moss. conditions weren't right for a bog, but sphagnum moss is a good indicator species and i searched around for carnivorous plants, which there were none. the only thing interesting i saw was a dormant skunk cabbage poking out of the ground. this late in the season there are no mosquitoes; the only flying insects i saw were red meadowhawks, their days numbers.

although there were many more miles of trails in noon hill, not even including the nearby shattuck reservation (with wetlands fed by the snaking charles river), my tour only included the walk around the pond. i was still certain i'd be able to find some sundews or bladderworts, and would occasionally look around the edge of the pond, the wet mud squishing beneath my shoes. what i thought to be a strip of bladderwort turns out to be a false alarm when i pulled it in with a long stick.

returning home i made two stops along the side of the highway. the first stop was at the small bridge crossing stop river overlooking a vast expanse of marsh land with colorful trees in the far distance. the second stop was at the medfield charles river reservation. a large wet field was on the other side of the highway, and i walked down to get some photos of rolled-up hay bales. i stepped carefully, more afraid of snakes hiding in the grass than ticks. in the sky i thought were two hawks flying but turns out they were a pair of radio-controlled planes being controlled by unseen navigators on the other side of some trees. i returned to the bike, coming home to cambridge, visiting my parents at the cafe briefly.

charles river reservation (medfield)

the end of daylight saving time means the sun now sets at around 4:30pm. renata was coming over tonight to help me give out candy to the neighborhood kids, which meant i needed to think of what i'd be making for dinner. after unsuccessfully browsing some recipe books, i decided to go with my old standby of thai curry. the sky was already dark by then, and i went across the street to get some ingredients. returning home, i noticed the motion-detecting light by the side of my house was on. i didn't think much of it (sometimes the neighborhood cats set off the lights) and came inside. that's when i heard the knocking from my backyard. it was renata! she tried the doorbell but when i didn't answer, she thought maybe i was ignoring the bell because i didn't want to give out candy, so she tried the backdoor right when i got home. she had some straight from her class, her long weekend of higher learning finally over.

i made prik khing curry with orange bell peppers, baby corns, basil, and strips of chicken. renata, perched on a bar stool, took photos while i cooked. the first trick-or-treaters of the evening was a girl clown and a boy ninja. i gave them each 3 pieces of milk buds, whoppers, and kit kat. although there were a lot of children on my street, none of them rang my doorbell. finally renata and i ended up standing outside with the door open, actively soliciting children to come and take some free candy. a group of 4 kids came by, and while her friends left to ring other houses once they got the candy, i told the last kid, "don't tell anyone, but i'm going to give you an extra piece of candy." the last child to come to my house was a little toddler dressed up in a dinosaur costume. his mother carried his plastic jack-o-lantern full goodies, and he said "trick or treat" after we had already given him his treat.

our original plan was to go see a short movie at the harvard film archives by someone renata knew from tufts. fearful she'd fall asleep in the theatre, we decided to stay home instead (the movie was a downer anyway, sunday nights are depressing enough). "i'm just going to take a short nap, wake me up in an hour," renata told me as we sat side by side on opposite ends of the couch. buried underneath a comforter, renata slept while i watched house of the flying daggers on dvd. it looks like a really good zhang yimou film, but unfortunately it's the chinese edition, with the english subtitles from an entirely different movie (i think pearl harbor). i watched about half but got so confused i decided to switch to regular tv. around 10:30pm renata woke up, and with eyes still half-asleep, put on her shoes and drove back home.

billy bragg - "you woke up my neighbourhood"