the weekend and time for naturing. the hard part is trying to figure out where to go. i could revisit an old place or look for somewhere new. i almost didn't go: after i finally figured out my destination (hazel brook in wayland), i couldn't get my brother 2070n network printer to print out the trail map. i finally got it to work by connecting my computer directly via usb (not only did it work, but it was superfast). even though the temperature was 65 degrees, i still layered since it'd be cold on the bike (4 top layers and i wore my long underwear; it was sort of demoralizing to see others outside wearing shorts and a t-shirt).
to get to hazel brook was relatively straight-forward, head in the direction of walden pond, and keep on going south down route 126 until you get to the town of wayland, then look for lincoln street on your left and keep on going until you see a sign for "sudbury valley trustees." when i got there a woman had parked her SUV by the side of the road and walked into the reserve with her dog. in the sky i could see half a dozen raptors circling around but by the time i got my telephoto lens out, there were gone. later i did see (from a distance) a turkey vulture.
i guess i went there hoping to see some spring-migrating birds, but there was nothing to be seen, at least nothing new or remotely exotic. some ubiquitous canada geese (they might've been making, it was pretty noisy), some ubiquitous sparrows. since it was near water and such a sunny day, i was hoping for a snake sighting but the closest i got was a sudden rustling sound in the dead leaves but i didn't see what it was (might as well have been a frog, although i didn't see any frogs either).
right now it's still the early stages of spring. it seems winter is really over, and plants are starting to come out. it makes for some boring naturing, sparse at best. nevertheless, i still managed to see some early spring flowers, including the rue anemones and the marsh marigolds, two species i don't remember seeing before. the entire forest floor is covered with canada mayflower, and once they bloom, the forest will smell like a perfume store. this is one place worth coming back and checking out in a few more weeks, once all the plants have a chance to get their act together.
though hazel brook reservation is just 48 acres (and much of which cover marshlands that are impossible to walk on anyway unless you enjoy swimming in mud), it borders the nearby jericho forest in the town of weston, 505 acres boasting 65 miles of trails. i kept on walking until i arrived in jericho. since only had a trail map for hazel brook, i was reluctant to go too far for fear of getting lost in the forest. it was pretty quiet, and apart from the few dogwalkers i met near the entrance to hazel brook, i didn't see a single soul out in jericho. i even found a vernal pool, but it was too choked with underbrush for me to get a good look and i didn't have my rubber boots.
besides some flowers, there were also several varieties of ferns, most of which i couldn't really identify but i could tell them apart at least. shot my first live bug with the 60mm macro lens (a click beetle). even at f4.5 aperture, not all of the bug is clear. i'll need to bump it up to f8.0 but that'll mean slower shutter speed which will result in blurrier photos. seeing how much money i have left during the summer, i may have to invest in an external flash ($220?) - i can't rely on natural light to properly illuminate my bugs. also, the dSLR is definitely not as agile as the nikon coolpix 4500 when it comes to getting those tricky angles. to get a photo of a bug on the ground i really have to crawl on my knees and elbows, so by the time i leave i'm pretty much caked in mud.
i left hazel brook around 5pm, got back home by 6pm. i made sure i didn't take any unnecessary risks: my former health insurance expired this month and i'm still waiting for my new blue cross policy to be confirmed, so i currently don't have any health insurance.
on the way back my cell phone started ringing in my pocket but i wasn't able to answer it until i got home. turned out it was client N. technically 6pm constitutes evening. a client calling me on a saturday night is a definite no-no. i could understand if they asked me beforehand, but this was entirely out of the blue, like they (actually, just one person, the high-strung manager) expected me to be on-call this weekend. the voicemail didn't help the situation either, the message was so mumbled i almost couldn't make sense of it. but the gist was just to confirm something trivial, like they needed to interrupt my weekend so i could hold their hand and tell them everything would be okay. the client as a whole isn't bad, but one bad apple can ruin everything, and i think that particular bad apple is pretty high up on the food chain so nobody's ever said no to him. at least it wasn't another bug, and he seemed appreciative of my help.
i watched the red sox game on television and promptly fell asleep on the couch. a phone call from eliza woke me up and i heated some leftover lasagna for dinner.