Sunday, April 10, 2011
The Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was not expected to be open this weekend, if the government had gone "essential." As it is right now, you can't open the national wildlife link, so I'll direct you to the state parks page instead.
This is not where I had started my day today. I began slightly closer to home at the Davis Conservation land in Sudbury/Stow. Its own press calls it "passive recreation." No kidding. It was not at all challenging, or very interesting, other than the trails being very poorly blazed. I gave it an hour and pressed on.
By then I had lost most of the cloudless day, and the Great Meadows is/are a breezy bit of wetland. But still. A girl's got to get outside. Especially since it intends to rain the next 3 days and I lost Saturday to housecleaning.
I spent a couple of hours walking the perimeter trail and scoping out the Timber and Edge Trails for future visits. The redwing blackbirds were in full voice, and in chorus with them some frogs I never saw but could probably figure out on this little scorecard. I was watching some kind of a bird through my tiny binoculars (not a swallow, though the rangers are very excited about the swallows there) and a passing couple asked, "Do you know what kind of bird that is?" You must understand that standing in the Great Meadow(s) with binoculars and not being able to answer that question does make you look, to say the least, suspicious. So answer it I did.
"I don't know anything about birds," I said. We all laughed, and the boy said, "we thought..." "Yes, it's a perfectly legitimate question to ask." I acknowledged. They left before I could unsheath my hatchet.
Look at this guy, though, he needs a sound effect.
Their stick wigwams are tucked everywhere into the woods, but you never see one building on. It's Sunday. They swim.
Giant fish are swimming too, or trying to, but boxed in at every turn by marsh grass and thick reeds. They leap right out of the water. You know that move you make when you get your arm stuck in the coat sleeve and the mitten is too big and you just start flailing until you finally yell one of the greatest of blasphemies involving the Lord's imagined middle name? Yeh, that move. That's the fish breaking through the reeds. Then they go, "Man, when I finally get arms....!" See what I did there -- religion and science in one paragraph.
A global village moment occurred when one the fish ended up in too shallow a crossing and several humans got to throw him back in... only to watch him turnaround and swim back into the shallows. There's a theology lesson in there too, but I am too tired to expand on it.
I had forgotten about my 60 Hikes in 60 Miles book I had bought at the end of the season last year, so I will try to be more systematic with it this year, as time allows. It means make an earlier commitment in the day, with sammiches and more water. Today was just stretching out.
Have a great week.