It was 57 degrees F, I think, this morning at 5:30 am, under a mostly clear sky, as I set out for a quick ride to Meadowbrook Park Rhododendron, my road bike.
Thought about just parking at one end of the soft path and walking into the middle of the prairie to see the royal catchfly, but once there, did not feel like getting my feet wet on the dewey vegetation when it was so chilly.
So just started on the big paved loop, peeking at, e.g., the cardinal flowers downstream from the rabbit-statue bridge, but not photographing anything, except the lead plant, which was so irresistible, still with some late little flowers.
Then thought maybe I could walk in to the edge of McCullough Creek downstream from the Windsor-Vine bridge and see whether cardinal flowers might be at any locations along the stream besides the one at the rabbit-statue bridge. But the vegetation between the path and the creek was incredibly thick and also covered with cold dew, and just wasn’t up for as much bush-whacking as it would take to examine the stream banks.
Was feeling an unfocused, rushed, frustrated, and a bit disappointed. And annoyed with myself for trying to squeeze in too big of a plan instead of just scaling down and enjoying the available time. Inhale. Exhale….
So headed back around the “short loop,” which connected back to Windsor Road, past the “To” statue. At the turn north was a lovely place to see the rising sun, with plenty of delicate tall Coreopsis and slightly darker-yellow and more robust Heliopsis, both of which have been abundant this year.
Also there was a patch of purple-on purple, coneflowers and Monarda.
Saw a few milkweeds where I recalled seeing a late-instar monarch caterpillar last year. Lo and behold, there was one again!
It was smaller, presumably younger than last year’s representative. In fact, there were two of them on one plant, and another on a neighboring plant!
Farther along, saw Liatris in front of the sunrise, toward the end of its bloom but still with some of those soft purple star-like flowers.
Also accompanying the sunrise was a tall, bending bush clover, the first flowers of which seem to turn russet-brown before the later white ones open.
As I got closer on the path to Windsor Road, the light seemed to hit the yellow flowers just right, they all looked so handsome and well-defined, rosinweed and yellow coneflowers along with the Heliopsis and tall Coreopsis.
Even the rosinweed without petals (“rays,” I think, technically) looked whimsical, like a stylized sunburst.
Thus my monkey-mind was calmed a little and the joy of Velo du Jour restored!