Sunday 4 August 2013. Curtis Road, with a Cardinal Flower Detour

It was 57 degrees F at 5:45 this morning, the sky clear, the air calm.

Set out for the expanse of Curtis Road, feeling a kind of sadness, general and abdominal, for miscellaneous and mostly old reasons, but maybe mostly that summer was beginning to wane. It only lasts a while…. It was not entirely unpleasant; moving along the road on my trusty road bike, Rhododendron helped to carry the sadness along as just another unique feature of this morning. But was able to pass both the Florida/Orchard prairie and the Idea Garden without stopping: some dampening of enthusiasm was at work.

Passed the cattle at the U of I dairy facility; heard them clanking in their stanchions.

Was not able, however, to pass Meadowbrook Park without checking out the cardinal flowers, with the sun coming up. Today the new feature was the branched yellow brown/eyed Susans, Rudbeckia triloba. Which, sorry to say, are not apparent in this photo.

But, ah, the cardinal flowers are outrageously gorgeous!  On top of that, saw a hummingbird buzz by!


Furthermore, they will be here for a while; am eager to observe the unfolding of their bloom!

Took an off-the-path exit from Meadowbrook and headed south on Race Street to Curtis Road and westward. Was impressed by the shiny, tall, dark green corn plants. They may have gotten a late start, but at this point looked incredibly vigorous.


Felt measurably warmer as the sun came up. It made me think of newborn babies with jaundice lying under those lights, whatever they are, getting some kind of healing from them.

Rode and rode under the sunshine on the lovely Curtis Road bike lane, but stopped for hardly any photos. Wished I could have gotten a shot of the great blue heron flying low, southward, across the I-57 overpass, but it was too quick for me.

Continued to just west of Staley Road where Curtis again becomes a small section road. There was a car stopped in the middle of the road next to a puddle at the corner of a field. Seemed like he was watching a group of ducks there.

The ducks seemed large for mallards and with lighter, more uniform coloration. Also, they seemed entirely unconcerned about being observed at rather close range, unlike most mallards I’ve seen lately.


Turned back toward Urbana but stopped briefly at the little pond at Prospect, where I startled away another (the same?) great blue heron. Also there was a smaller, dark water-bird that made a melodious whistling sound that flew off. The (mallard, no doubt) ducks in the corner scurried across the water to a more protected area.

The flowers were less spectacular than I’ve seen there before, but did notice a humming sound: bee-loud partridge pea.


Rode north on the lovely bike lane along Prospect. Noticed that the crab apple trees that had been crammed with blooms in the spring now had rather sparse foliage. Too much water? Some kind of disease?


Noticed on the way home a little residue of the morning’s “sadness” that still remained despite the gorgeous weather. Nothing seriously distracting but illustrative of the point that mood comes at least as much from the inside as from the outside. Just how it was today, au Velo du Jour.


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