Sunday 14 June 2015. Inter-Urban: to the Center of the Universe (Philo) and Back

It was 73 degrees F at 5:35 am (still haven’t managed to be out at first light, alas, regardless, it was effectively early), the sky mostly cloudy, but with gaps.

Yesterday’s ride to Tolono inspired me to do another inter-urban–if a near one–to Philo, the (or “a”) purported (according to its water tower) center of the universe.

Did stop for cabbage roses.

And for the mushrooms,
under the wall of spruce trees, which have been continuing to emerge.

Maybe they’ll keep coming up till frost. Is this new or had I just not noticed before? Another preconceived notion (the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of mushrooms) possibly biting the dust.

Sped to and over McCullough Creek (but hit the brakes before the turn) on the rabbit-statue bridge at Meadowbrook Park and came back to get a shot of the rising sun over the high water.

There were spiderwort, Penstemon, Baptisia, purple coneflowers, and apparently unperturbed deer among them.

Most exciting was the appearance of the long-awaited lead plant blooms!

And then on to Philo!

The wind seemed to be coming from the southeast, the direction in which I was headed. Maybe that contributed to the difficulty I had settling in to enjoy the ride. It wasn’t terribly uncomfortable, just not quite “fun.” But was reasonably confident that things would improve, as they always have, to date.

On the way to the crest of Yankee Ridge was amazed at how quickly the corn had become so tall and such a dark green.

Farther south, a dog barked as I passed a very “architectural” house on Yankee Ridge Road, but seemed to recall this dog and that it didn’t give chase last time, bark notwithstanding, and kept pedaling, without incident.

Took Champaign County Highway 18 east; it was mostly clear of cars. Turned south on State Highway 130, for the short distance to town; it also was pretty clear. By this time felt wide awake and comfortable, enjoying the quiet roads.

Rode into Philo on Fillmore Street and then behind some grain elevators on a road that became rather gravelly, to get a shot of the water tower.

Which, if it’s too small to read, says “center of the universe” (no “the,” by the way). Which reminded me of the quote (associated, from my Google search, with Nicholas of Cusa, Pascal, and Voltaire, at least) “God is a circle (or sphere) whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” I leave it to the reader to track its actual source.
Turned back as it started to sprinkle. Didn’t expect the rain to amount to much, but tucked the iPhone into some knitting in a zip lock bag deep in the middle of my backpack, just in case.

On the way back saw a goldfinch in the middle of Yankee Ridge Road that did not fly away when I approached. It was obviously injured, maybe dead. On closer inspection could see it was alive

and wondered whether I should move it to the side of the road so it wouldn’t get run over by a car. Had nothing and could see nothing with which to pick it up so just grasped it with my hand to move it. Well, it didn’t seem to recognize or appreciate this “gesture of kindness” and squawked and struggled to escape with all its remaining might. Wondered whether it actually might have been more humane to let it get run over. I thanked it, futilely, for its beauty and rode on.


On the way back stopped for a shot of the edge of a cornfield at Old Church Road near Philo Road.

Liked how it defined the slight roll of the land, which is so lovely but hard to convey in an ordinary photograph. In central Illinois, the landscape is all about subtlety.

Planned to ride past Meadowbrook without stopping on the way home but had to catch the “bouquet” of flowers near the northwest corner, next to the new Clark-Lindsey houses.

I hope the people who live there are able to enjoy the gorgeous landscape just outside their door.


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