Thursday, April 26, 2012
When I was a college student I would walk to Mt. Auburn Cemetery of a fine fall day with a book I needed to read, and nestle between the cool forelimbs of this beautiful sphinx, leaning back against her curved but unmoving bosom, reading the hours away.
Now I stand and photograph her in the sharp April sun, wishing back that precise golden October light that made her embrace the perfect place to be.
The painted turtles know that light.
And so does this elderly red-eared slider. I guessed, simply looking at this lumpy individual, that it started its life in captivity. The irregular surface of the shell might indicate a calcium deficiency. But the kicker is that red-eared sliders aren't native to Cambridge, MA. Who knows how many years ago this big turkle was swimming little circles in the stinking water around a plastic palm tree, trying to live on Hartz Mountain brand dried flies? It was a dark era for turtles. I'm glad we don't do that any more. Well, not as much.
People let a lot of creatures go in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Heck, I let a couple of goldfish go there one spring, before I went to Brasil for six months. Ludivico and Pustefix, are you still out there?
Maybe, said the bullfrog.
Probably not, said the great blue heron.
That's Hodge's little foot for scale. Eep, that's a lotta crap.
A morning that started in the 40's rocketed up to the mid-80's, and I threw on a pair of shorts and hurried to Mt. Auburn for a golden hour of photography before a full day of media and Fenway Park began. There were yellow-rumped warblers absolutely everywhere, it being only April 20. This oasis was just receiving its first wave of spring migration.
The rattling snap of ruby-crowned kinglets sounded from every hedge. They sound like miniature firecrackers.
Predictably enough, the pine warblers sang their mellow trill mostly from the pines. This drab little male came down into a maple to delight us, though. Hodge's life pine warbler.
And a great prize for me: a male palm warbler in stunning yellow and chestnut.
Where's the chestnut, you ask? On his hat. He's hopping up to a sturdy branch with a hapless caterpillar
and showing me his little chestnut cap as he beats it to a pulp.
Vicious things, those warblers, if you're tiny, soft and green.