at the end of yesterday i was all natured out. i had enough of beetles and dragonflies and snakes, i wanted to take a break. but the draw of seeing something new made me change my mind this morning, as i started to find a place to go. after some online research i decided to visit memorial forest in sudbury, right next to the assabet river national wildlife refuge which i visited a few days ago, so i would still have some pretty good memory as to how to get there. after picking up a copy of the local chinese newspaper and delivering it to my grand uncle waiting for me at the cafe, i headed out to sudbury.

learning from yesterday's mistake, i printed out a trail map of the forest before i left the house. although there were a few places you could park along the side of the road to get into the memorial forest, i went to the "official" parking lot down the end of a hidden street, which i didn't know whether or not it was private or public. the lot was empty, a good sign, because there's no greater buzzkill than when i'm out naturing and i come across other people (something about these new england woods that turn me into a misanthrope). after applying a liberal coating of bug repellent, i walked into the forest, following a clearly marked trail. the mosquito level was pretty bad (something about the trail going through a lot of swamp land, go figure), made worse by the fact that i was wearing a dirty (i.e. smelly) t-shirt. i didn't suffer too many bites, but they would constantly swarm around me, especially inside the forest, not so bad out in the open. i hung around on a short wooden bridge crossing a small stream, taking photos of dragonflies, feeling the sun burning the back of my neck. i then followed the desert loop, where the trail was covered with sand. it brought me to a large sand pit, which felt like an empty beach in the middle of the forest, all sand, no water. i retraced my steps and came back out. from a distance i saw something on my motorcycle, and i was afraid it was a parking ticket (i sort of parked the bike in the woods, nature be damned), but instead it was a note from a neighbor telling me that i was on private property and that i should park somewhere else. i crumpled the note into my pocket (instead of throwing it on the ground, which was my first instinct) then rode off, kicking up pine needles with my wheels.

green pathway

open forest stream

forest floor

sand pit

open field


swamps mean mosquitoes but it also means dragonflies. i saw a few that i haven't seen in the few nature spots i've been to during the month of june. i always thought dragonflies were really hard to get photos of but i've been having a lot of success recently. i think the trick is not to chase after them, because you'll lose, they're good flyers and they're very skittish; instead, you sort of figure out where they're going to land, and you kind of just wait around for them to return. i also found a calligrapha beetle, which i didn't even know existed.

variable dancer (m)

variable dancer (f)

eastern forktail (m)

river jewelwing (f)

unicorn clubtail

clubtail feeding

ebony jewelwing (f)

jewelwing (f) feeding

ebony jewelwing (m)

ebony jewelwing (m)

blue dasher (f)

calligrapha beetle

the rest of my evening was spent at home, buying some groceries, eating some leftovers, watching some television (a great multipart documentary about the life of benjamin franklin on PBS), and listening to neighborhood kids preemptively firing off some independence day fireworks.