Thursday, 25 December 2014. Christmas Morning at Meadowbrook, with Deer and Lichens

At 7:45 this Christmas morning it was 37 degrees F and cloudy, surprise, surprise.

No better place, at least under the circumstances, to experience Christmas morning–even a tiny slice of it–than Meadowbrook Park, by bike.

On the way, the stand of tall spruce trees along Race Street looked “Christmas-y” even though there was no snow.

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Closer to Meadowbrook, checked under the once-laden ginkgoes to get a shot of abundant fruit on the ground, protected from trampling (the would-be trampling feet protected also) between a hedge and the sidewalk.

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Their fragrance was not especially distracting today.

In the distance were “decorations” to indicate road construction, and a Christmas-looking tree.

At Meadowbrook was going to stop at the open area bordered by labelled shrubby trees and the “sunrise on Tattooine” sculpture to look up at the Christmas morning sky, but on the way noticed some incredible lichen (if lichen it was) growth on a dogwood

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that also held a small bird nest. A lot of nests are exposed in the winter, but I think probably more are destroyed by the elements, squirrels, etc. Kind of like fossils.

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Got a decent close up of the dogwood buds, looking like little onion domes, or maybe like little onions.

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Stopped at the rabbit-statue bridge over McCullough Creek but today photographed the less-photogenic downstream side of the bridge.

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There was a not especially attractive scum on the surface that I believe was a “bloom” of diatoms a kind of alga (plural: algae)
that has an intricately sculpted glass “skeleton” that someone somewhere some time must have used as a design for Christmas tree ornaments, or should, if they haven’t.

A little farther down the path, met up with a couple of (white-tailed) bucks,

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one of whose antlers seemed rather asymmetrical. Thought maybe, but couldn’t exactly tell, that one was missing. Was it from disease induced by overpopulation? Then thought, it must be the time of year when the antlers are just in the way and start falling off. It seems incredible that they grow and then shed them every year. But I imagine it must be nice not to have them in the way at least part of the time.

Stopped to behold and photo some lovely Baptisia pods.

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Their dark, solid shapes make such a lovely contrast of form with the pale, soft background of dry prairie grass and sky.

Also stopped for prairie clover,

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which also is dark against the winter prairie, but with a rough, textured outline.

Rode across the Windsor/Vine bridge over McCullough Creek and stopped to get a shot of the flower buds and old fruit hanging like ornaments from the alder trees.

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Headed back to be with my family to celebrate Christmas by staying home all day and not going anywhere! Would miss my extended family (later some would come down to visit!) but not the stress of holiday travel, and best of all, my son is home and well!

Hope you, whoever you are reading this, are well and enjoying the good will of the season!

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