November 18, 2010

Great Meadows Walk: Sat., December 4, 10 - noon

A continuing series of monthly walks exploring the landscape, plants, and seasonal wonders of Great Meadows NWR.

November light and shadows, open vistas, last stirrings, and first crystalline etchings on the landscape...we'll walk the trails to look for ephemeral signs of the earth's readying for her long winter's nap.

No pre-registration required.  A voluntary donation of $5/person will be gratefully accepted.

Led by Cherrie Corey, local naturalist and photographer
Co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment and Friends of the Assabet River NWR

Meet at Great Meadows NWR in Concord MA.  
(Monsen Road, off Rte. 62, turn left where road turns right)

November 14, 2010

Gossamer and Light

To quote Thoreau, yesterday was a "gossamer day." From every weed and floating seed, to every branchlet, grass and sedge, fine silken lines filled the air at Great Meadows. Thin, bouncing waves of light spun by tiny spiders that seem to skitter and blow from one anchor point to another. Says Thoreau, "Methinks it is only on these very finest days late in autumn that this phenomenon is seen, as if the fine vapor of the morning were spun into these webs." The Germans, he said, called this fall rite "Der fliegender Sommer", the flying or departing summer and he puzzled about why the spiders appeared to empty themselves just before winter's arrival.  Thanks to Alan Bragg for pointing me to Thoreau's Oct. 31, 1953 Journal entry.

In the midst of honoring darkness and the daily rush toward night, I'd forgotten how exquisite light becomes during the dark months of the year.  It's the angle or reflection of light that catches our attention now -- in the illumined roots and branches of the forest...

in a bright feather come to rest, in foxtail grass, or in the glow of the landscape whitened with the flocking of cattail seeds blowing and clinging everywhere.

November 12, 2010

History of the Night - A Far Cry Orchestra

JP Concerts presents: A Far Cry, the self-conducted, cooperatively directed string orchestra described by the Boston Globe as "thrilling, "brilliant," and "intrepid," in the second concert of its fourth season, themed "History of the Night." During the course of this season, the group will explore the concept of night, as reflected in both traditionally nocturnal works and more standard repertoire. 

Seasons in Orbit

* Part: Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten
* Elgar: Serenade for Strings
* Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
* Piazzolla: Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas for Guitar, Bandoneon, and Strings
*Kernis: Musica Celestis

A Far Cry in Jamaica Plain | Buy Tickets!
December 18 2010 4pm
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain MA

A Far Cry at the Gardner Museum | Buy Tickets!
December 19 2010 1:30pm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston MA

November 11, 2010

Blazing Edge of Night

The long, gray nor'easter pushes away this evening leaving a blaze of color in its wake.  Watching the treetops ignite from my kitchen window, I hurry over to Great Meadows to be with the burst of light and flight that comes just before dark.  It moves quickly.  Gold and flushes of rose give way to fiery orange and deepening shadows, all dancing on a canvas of streaming clouds.  As the day releases its last flush, the sky fills with wave upon wave of geese and ducks coming in for the night.  And I am left content in the darkness with the wooshing sound of their descending flight and the settling murmur of their voices.

November 6, 2010

Entering the Darkness

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) afterglow at sunset
The afterglow of a female winterberry is a welcome sight on November evenings as we begin our descent into winter's darker days.  Winterberries, a member of the Holly family, inhabit bottomlands, swamps, and bogs in the Concord area.  Watch for the added touch of color as bluebirds and robins dine on these berries in the late fall and early winter months.

Tiny Bird with a Regal Name

Ruby-crowned kinglet (female or juvenile)
This little bird caught my attention on the Dike Trail while fluttering about between a European spindletree and my head. He was so close that it was hard to get a focused shot and clear identification. Ruby-crowned kinglets pass through during migration and are not seen in as much abundance as their Golden-crowned counterparts.