David commented this weekend that he has never before been so attuned to the natural changes around him. He lingers over the flora here, from branch to forest floor, like I have never seen him do before, and he gives me updates on the blossoming of the cherry tree outside the math department.I feel it too, even though I have been here less than three weeks. It is the same feeling I had living in Jones Gulch while being an outdoor educator, or at the lovely Bradeen cabin on Gorham Pond. And it is strange that observing nature and seasonal change fills one with both security and awe at the same time. “Remarkable” and “Comforting” are not often linguistic bedfellows, and yet that is the best way I can describe how I feel when I begin to know a place’s natural sounds and smells and sights.There is a bird sanctuary here, adjacent to the Institute Woods, and it has a nice tower to check out the waterfowl action in the marsh below. Normally what I see from there is frantic wet turtle sex, a few great blue herons, wood ducks, and tons of red-winged black birds.
My favorite trail is back behind the pumping station and wetland (yes, it is artificially created). This is what my favorite trail looks like:And although I have had some very good sightings of woodchucks here, I have yet to see any beavers, but this monument tells me they are present:The trail goes along Stony Creek, and at first parallels the tow path and canal, although you can’t see either of them over the embankment. The most frequent bird in Stony Creek is the Canada Goose:
Eventually, the creek splits and forms The Island. And the best thing about The Island, is the suspension bridge you have to walk to get to it: