At 6:40 this morning, it was 28 degrees F under a mostly sunny sky, the sun, against a pale, restrained palate, already fully visible and too bright to look at directly.
It was back to below freezing after a bit of warmth; actually, a whole lot of weather happened since last week, most dramatically the brief but copious rain that washed away much of the long-accumulated snow. Flowing water in the streets and all over!
Remembered sitting in the passenger seat while my almost-16 year old son practiced driving yesterday; felt like we were driving through Minnesota: the blue sky reflected in all the “lakes” in the farm fields.
I’ve loved this snowy winter but must admit the water moving the snow along was exciting, as was the thought of getting back on Rhododendron to Meadowbrook Park!
Gave the chain some lube before heading out, but it took a while for it to stop skipping from stiffness.
Stopped at “my” apple tree, which apart from a very few very small, shriveled ones, was now bare of fruit.
The half-moon was visible, a little more than half way to the western horizon.
Though much of the rain and melt water had drained in town, some still sat in large puddles.
Got a shot of the melting snow mounds around the Race Street parking lot at Meadowbrook.
Passed the “wonky Christmas tree” and did get one photo for my own records but not for today’s post.
Did stop briefly to sit on the grass before the rabbit statue bridge where the frost on the dry, flattened grass suggested the word, “magical.”
There was a fair amount of ice on the path on both sides of the rabbit statue bridge over McCullough Creek. The creek was satisfyingly high, though well in its banks. Davis Creek ran plainly and vigorously. It was good to see the water, knowing it had been dry there before and likely would be again: a point in the ever-moving rhythm.
A bevy of runners came over the bridge; wondered if I’d stumbled into a race and asked, but they said they were just training. Was amazed at how little the ice impeded their progress.
Rolled over the bridge and onward over the flat ice on the other side, accompanied by a loud, satisfying crack as the thin layer on the path broke under the wheels. Stayed steady and went on!
Noticed a variety of bird sounds, including woodpeckers (winter birds!) and red-winged blackbirds, staking territorial claims from various tree tops and also from the top of the Freyfogel lookout. More a sign of spring, it would seem.
Saw a fair number of deer, scattered across the inside of the big loop path.
Got a "selfie" of my shadow looking at the prairie near the Marker statue to the west.
Stopped for a close-up of the remains of some compass plant seed heads, worn by the weather to little bowls, the bottom of each surrounded by a ring of short prickles.
Saw coyote scat on the edge of the path and another dark mass near it that proved to be a frozen shrew (no pics). Wondered why a creature that needs to eat as much as it does was out in this cold winter. Was it fooled by the rain?
Wanted to walk by McCullough Creek downstream from the Windsor/Vine bridge, but shortness of time allowed only for a short stop at the “beaver-chewed alders” site.
The path near the Hickman Wildflower Walk was quite icy, and just as I started to wonder whether I’d make it across the stretch without falling, Rhododendron went down! But fortunately only my pride was hurt. If there had to be a fall, this was a good one.
Noticed I wasn’t wide awake for parts of the trip; paradoxically, the more one goes out to look, the sharper one’s awareness is, and, alas, lately the trips are infrequent. Still, any moment of any awe (there was plenty!) is its own very satisfying universe, as it were. Always, always, between the stretches of sleep and numbness, there are small and large wonders, ready for the beholding.
Noticed also no discomfort of cold this trip! Must be really acclimating to the cold winter at last! Or maybe it’s the anticipation of spring.