The problem with trying to plan a lot of fun, celebratory things to do is that there is only so much time in which to do them, and celebration can easily turn into stress.
This early morning of my birthday I wanted do three favorite activities: bike, swim, and work on this blog over coffee at Cafe Zojo.
It was a bit complicated but planned to have it go more or less like this: 1. Look for beavers at Meadowbrook Park. 2. Ride out a little past Yankee Ridge. 3. Swim. 4. Ride back to Meadowbrook. Get closeups of cardinal flower and look for signs of gentians at the Marker statue and the Freyfogel Lookout (official name of what I’ve been calling the “observation platform.”). Also check other sites for signs of cardinal flowers.
5. Get coffee and granola bar at cafe Zojo. Write about what I just did.
An so it was, with a little stress but nothing unmanageable, on Blue.
Part 1. Got to see one beaver swim from downstream of the bridge to upstream, where the drain is. It was not the huge one, who
always seems to go first, and didn’t see any more after that. A fellow beaver-watcher pointed out that there was a newly beaver-
felled tree a little downstream from the bridge. Here it is. Wow.
Rode without taking many pictures to the “Mount of Quiet,” Yankee Ridge on Old Church Road. It’s amazing, even with some
intermittent traffic, how quiet that place is. The only continuing sound was that of crickets. This is the song that played in my head and that I sang some of. It’s a little heavy on the “I’m a sinner” idea, but the point was that, here on my birthday, I really would like to aim the rest of my life toward helpful choices. A more difficult task than it seems when we’re young and idealistic.
Rode past the beautiful prairie garden around my friend Janice’s house: compass plants still tall, yellow-flowered; prairie dock tall also but starkly smooth-stemmed, still with many buds; Liatris starting to fade. Was tempted to stop and take a quick photo but was glad I didn’t. The dog from last time ran next to me on the road to the end of its territory, barking. Fortunately it didn’t continue to chase me. It was well-mannered to that extent.
Rode fast toward home but did veer off of Race Street long enough to get a quick, distant shot of the cardinal flower and then sped home and to the pool.
Part 2. Rode back to Meadowbrook toward the rabbit bridge, looking for a way to get close to the cardinal flower. Wound up just
climbing down into the dry stream-bed and did get a bunch of close-ups. Of course, no photo does it justice. I love how the reds of the royal catchfly and the cardinal flower both are so wonderfully intense but not identical. The royal catchfly tends a little to the orange side, the cardinal flower ever so slightly to the purple.
At the Marker statue looked, and what do you know, found, signs of gentians, with very small, green buds so couldn’t tell whether
they were the cream or the blue kind. Goes to show, once again, that the more you look, the more you see.
Also examined the Freyfogel Lookout, and sure enough, there the gentians were, again, in tiny bud. A lot of these looked pretty
sad, likely an effect of the drought. Interesting that the cream gentians at the “Inner Prairie” were so far along and so healthy looking.
Before heading to Cafe Zojo took some time to admire the late-July composition of the prairie near the Lookout. Was struck by
the pods of the Baptisia, many of which were a lovely dark indigo (hence the common name). They looked especially handsome next to the golden yellow compass plant flowers.
And on top of all that, and some other things, my older son (his own idea!) made me some special pancakes for lunch. Life is good.