all that mysterious vegetation growing in front of my garden? they're either a species of cosmos i've never seen before or the early stages of autumn ragweed. i'm hoping for cosmos. i'd hate to think i was cuckolded into growing weeds by accident.

i went down to MGH in the late afternoon for my orthopedic appointment. after taking my millionth x-ray (i made sure i had the lead apron securely over my crotch this time) the doctors give me their professional opinion: the foot's healing, i don't have to wear the cast but i still have to be in a brace for about another month. i passed with flying colors on the various stress tests, which is when one of the doctors holds my foot and tells me to push in certain directions. no pain or discomfort, with the only exception being when i try to roll my left foot inwards. unfortunately they didn't have the brace they wanted me fitted for (the new shipment arrive next week) so they gave me a smaller brace instead (which is fine by me, less intrusive). it's basically an elastic sock with a hard L-shaped insert on either side of my foot to prevent it from rotating from side to side. up and down motions are okay, but side to side motions require the use of tendons attached to the formerly broken (and still healing) bone - which under the right circumstances could fracture again. i kept on trying to get some definitive answers but the two doctors erred on the side of caution and told me not to put too much stress on the foot if possible. when the older doctor left, the younger resident told me that there's probably zero chance my bone would fracture again, but to play it safe so the foot can fully recover.

back at home i tried putting it on the brace with a shoe. at first i couldn't figure it out, and pulling a shoe over it hurt because it was such a tight fit. eventually i got used to it though, and even found a pair of wide-opening shoes compatible with the brace. one of the things i asked specifically was whether i could ride a motorcycle again. i assured them i'd wear riding boots (i lied) and they seemed okay with the idea but still hesitant. i personally think it's open season on riding but any sort of rigorous hiking is still probably out of the picture until my foot is 100% recovered.

jesse called to ask if i was interested in a spur-of-the-moment birdwatching trip to great meadows. i've never been there close to sunset, because i'm afraid of contracting encephalitis and dusk is when all the mosquitoes come out, but i was still game. traffic leaving cambridge was pretty painful until we got to route 2. even then we didn't get to concord until around 7pm, precious daylight quickly disappearing. there were still a few cars in the parking time by the time we pulled into the preserve.

the normally active birding blackboard was completely blank, which foreshadowed the lack of interesting bird activities across the marsh. swallows fluttered in the sky catching insects, the occasional flock of nondescript ducks (probably mallards), the ubiquitous canada geese, a curious mourning dove, flutters of sparrows (swamp and white-throated), a goldfinch (jesse saw it, i didn't), a red-winged blackbird, and a great blue heron. perhaps the most interesting thing we saw might've been a green heron, seen from a distance through binoculars, but no positive id (and definitely no photos).

there were a few people, all leaving by the time we arrived. every few minutes a plane would scream across the sky, heading to nearby hanscom airforce base. the mosquitoes were surprisingly absent, most likely due to a strong breeze brought forth by the ominous clouds overhead. at the farthest edge of the reserve those bloodsuckers finally grew bold. the halo of mosquitoes buzzing around jesse's head was our cue to head back out. although i brought bug spray, jesse wanted to keep pesticide free if possible.

there was one other car in the parking lot other than ours. back to camberville, the topic du jour was mad men, a show jesse was just starting to get into. we stopped by the fresh pond whole foods so jesse could buy her almond butter (like peanut butter, but with almonds). the place had renovated since my last visit. the glare of high-priced grocery items was blinding and i was happy when we left.