Freetown State Forest in Bristol County, MA: apparently it is full of weirdness. It’s in the middle of the Bridgewater Triangle, the Hockamock Swamp abuts it, the Dighton Rock museum is just across I95 on the Taunton River estuary. I’m not especially one for touring the apocryphal weirdness; there’s just so much actual, true weirdness to be had. But with exactly one afternoon available to me amid Thanksgiving to drag a few semi-unwilling members of my family out to some wilderness within range of SW Boston suburbs to celebrate not supporting the capitalist establishment on Black Friday, the Fortean forest was it.
Profile Rock, Assonet, MA. I’m pretty sure that 1902 postcard on the Wikipedia page is completely wrong.
Delightful incidental art on Joshua’s Mountain.
Both of these appear on the same forked beech.
From Profile Rock, looking towards Dighton.
Not pictured: flooded, 350 year old foundations along Payne Rd; ugly, locked concrete building in the shape of a pair of octogonal spectacles which now encloses Dighton Rock; vast fields of solar farms; marina; deer; donkey; Wampanoag ghosts, bigfoot, pterodactyls.
It’s an aspect of the nature of light, because it travels uniformly in every direction from the point of its source, that upon encountering any evenly distributed scattering of objects, it produces the illusion of an enclosing sphere. This is perhaps most familiar in the globe that surrounds headlights seen through a rain-fogged window or a distant streetlamp observed through heavily falling snow.
Early fall reminds me of a slightly different manifestation of this same effect. Overcast light, diffused through deciduous forest canopy, strikes thinning, yellow-green leaves in such a way as to transform trunks and branches into arching pillars and a gold-carpted trail through woodland to a corbeled, green-golden cathedral vault, like the grand passage leading through the Emerald City to the doors of the Wizard’s audience chamber.
I live in the land of graveyards now. The dead are everywhere. They don’t even stay behind their wrought-iron fences; anyplace there’s a patch of grass and trees crammed between railroad tracks and the street, they might be there. The other day I found a revolutionary war captain buried under the oaks at the south end of the Arboretum.
This one’s from Forest Hills Cemetery.
Smilacena racemosa, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
White flowers in late spring/early summer, berries in late summer. When the berries turn red they do taste kind of treacley–molassesy/woody/fruity, with a tart skin a bit like a concord grape skin in texture and a slick white seed.
Yes, it is actually called that. Because of the white jagged line it sews into its web, which I suppose is for stability, but on the other hand may be there in order to contribute to the already hypnotic effect had by the tattoo on its back depicting the spider’s Lovecraftian collective alien hive-mind deity, Atlach-Nacha, aka Iktomi, aka Xochiquetzal.