November 2006

Remember the odd “alien eyes” I blogged on a Sunday morning a little over a year ago? At the time, I couldn’t understand why reflected light from un-grilled windows across a parking lot showed up as gridded on this brick facade, but the mystery only added to the odd lights’ appeal. Several weeks later, I discovered that a building diagonal from the one with reflecting windows had window grills, so apparently the low-slanting morning light shone through one grill-windowed building, bounced off the non-gridded windows of a second, and landed in an exotic and intricate design on a third. Having figured the odd and angled trajectory of this alien eye-shine, I’m just as awed as ever.

Why do mention all this? Only because the aliens are back, this time in Central Square, Cambridge.

These Massachusetts alien eyes bear a much closer resemblance to praying mantises than our New Hampshire ones: perhaps they’re from different areas of the same exotic planet?

Early icicle

To my eye, this clear, tubular structure looks more like a transparent worm or paramecium than it resembles an icicle…but that’s only because I’m accustomed to seeing icicles growing downward. I also wasn’t expecting to spot any icicles already in early November.

Icy stone

The icicles I saw dripping from the rocks along Beaver Brook yesterday afternoon are an excellent example of the kind of seasonal surprise you might encounter in a microclimate: a region where temperature and atmospheric conditions differ from the surrounding area. “Microclimates exist,” Wikipedia notes, “near bodies of water which may cool the local atmosphere, or in heavily urban areas where brick, concrete, and asphalt absorb the sun’s energy, heat up, and reradiate that heat to the ambient air.” In a microclimate, you might find winter arriving early or summer staying late. According to my car’s thermometer, the outside air was in the 40s yesterday afternoon when Reggie and I went walking, but the air immediately alongside Beaver Brook was noticeably cooler than it was where I’d parked the car. Beaver Brook cuts through a rock-rimmed ravine that is sheltered from sun, so the previous night’s freeze lingered under a shade of stone.

Since one of the things I missed about my digicam while it was undergoing repairs was its crystal-clear macro capabilities, it seemed appropriate to get reacquainted by taking several microclimate macros, these images providing a glimpse of the sort of scene we’ll see much more of in the coming winter months.


By this morning’s first light, I discovered everything outside had been covered with a crisp layer of frost…both newly fallen, light-as-air leaves and a heavy, recently rain-sodden couch.

Frosted and feral

This is my submission for today’s Photo Friday theme, Light. This morning after snapping these first-light pencam shots, I found outside my front door a package that had been delivered last night: my Lumix digicam, back from the shop after its recent gravitational mishap. Here’s hoping for a mostly sunny day to test out its newly repaired features.

Yellow birch

By way of follow-up to last week’s post showing the sprawling, outspread yellow birch roots along Beaver Brook, here’s a sunlit pencam shot of a tender arborial moment: one yellow birch hugging another with a wending root.

For many more tree-related posts and pictures, click over to this month’s Festival of the Trees, which is presently esconced at Frizzy Logic. Enjoy!

Al fresco

…is another person’s blog-fodder!

I first noticed this couch–set out, presumably, for rubbish collection, unless the tenants of this house want a comfy place to read their mail–when I let Reggie out this morning. On Monday, I’d chatted with my landlord about leaf collection: each neighborhood has a scheduled day when city crews collect leaves piled along residential streets, but you have to make sure those leaves don’t blow onto the street lest you get slapped with a fine. “Ah, that makes sense,” I remarked. “Over the weekend during the windstorm, I saw some neighbors frantically raking leaves out of the street, which seemed to be a losing battle.”


I don’t know if those furious rakers are the (previous) owners of this abandoned furniture, but personally I think it looks downright homey to have a russet couch nestled among road-raked leaves. When I let Reggie out this morning, it was still too dark for pictures, so I make a mental note to snap an image or two once the sun was out. Later in the morning, I saw the sun shining brightly, and I relished the thought of well-lit photos of out-of-place upholstery. Before I could finish the online work I was doing at my front-facing office window, though, a pickup truck pulled up and parked in front of the couch, blocking the photo I’d already envisioned as being “mine.” “Oh, just leave already,” I found myself fretting. “And whatever you do, don’t touch that couch!

After about a half hour, I heard the sound of ignition: yes! The pickup pulled away, and the couch remained untouched. Taking advantage of a well-lit opportunity, I dashed outside to snap, snap, snap. Roadside furniture isn’t a rarity in a college town where students habitually toss items they can’t afford to move, but this couch looks cleaner than most. Now that I’ve collected my requisite photos, this couch is free again for the taking: just make sure you don’t kick any leaves into the street when you come to carry it away.

It’s November 1st: do you know where your novel-to-be is? This morning I kicked off National Novel Writing Month and duly recorded my Day One progress on my writing blog, where you can get your vicarious NaNoWriMo kicks. Enjoy!

« Previous Page


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,424 other followers