Tuesday 22 March 2016. Stretching Out with the South Wind on South Race

It was about 7:15 this spring break morning as I headed on Discovery II into the south wind on Race Street. The sky was mostly clear and the temperature was 41 degrees F.

Beautiful as the bursting spring garden flowers were (status of the progression: Aconite flowers gone, snowdrops mostly gone, crocuses past their peak, scilla about at peak, daffodils and hyacinths not quite at peak, and hellebores, the first signs of floral life way back in early February, are at peak and seeming to peak further, with foliage that will persist with vigor until fall (still can’t believe how much of my life was empty of their awareness), what I wanted to do this morning was to ride out into the country.

A cluster of planted native bloodroot, however, proved attractive enough to stop the ride fairly early on for a photo.

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Then rode south (and heard a white-throated sparrow for the first time this year!) into the wind toward Meadowbrook Park, though did not plan to stop. Focused on the movement of the ride, though have to admit that “mind-stuff” still snuck in for attention: thoughts about limits, anger, forgiveness, confusion….. It was lol funny then to recall the German-accented words of Ekhart Tolle in Practicing the Power of Now that I’d been listening to lately: “Irritation arises….”
Like when I stopped at the new traffic lights at Windsor Road. There was a bit of AM “rush ” traffic (though lighter because of spring break), so it seemed to fill some kind of need. Irritation also can dissolve.

Rode through the construction at Clark-Lindsay to the left and a lot of cutting of trees and clearing of undergrowth to the right: a corridor of change.

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Stopped where Race Street crosses McCullough Creek. Downstream from Meadowbrook, the view was so different with so much growth cleared away.

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Nothing to do from where I stand but get used to it. And observe.

The bridge was a good place to hear birds: woodpeckers and one very vocal bluejay.

A little way down, the road opened into black, early spring fields: ah, space!

Passed the University egg sales outlet during that tiny window of time when it’s open but was not properly equipped to buy.

Stopped at Old Church Road

img_5170 satisfied to have come even this far.

Then when I turned back, was able to ride the wind:

The wind’s at my back,
But in front the air is calm
As I race homeward.

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Sunday 20 March 2016. The Progress of Meadowbrook’s Awakening

At 6:40 this morning it was 36 degrees F. The sky was ringed with clouds at the horizon but overhead it was clear.

Headed south on Discovery II to Meadowbrook Park. Wondered how far spring had progressed on the prairie and thereabouts.

Saw the sun disc where Race Street crossed Windsor.

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Getting used to the new traffic lights there, slowly.

At Meadowbrook, parked Discovery II at the rack by the garden plots and walked in toward the central prairie. Was struck by the clearing of so much understory from the wildflower walk just to the southeast. I have faith that it will be better as the restoration announced by the signage progresses. Recalled seeing the prairie after a renewing burn: for a time it looked devastated, but life returned with even more vigor than before.

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Liked the new sculpture near the little wooden bridge over McCullough Creek.

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Liked the representation of soft, fleeing ripples in the hard stone.

McCullough Creek babbled over tree roots just above the little wooden bridge.

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Walked in toward the middle of the prairie, where the old grass lay in mostly flat waves

img_5133-1 with a thin layer of green (exotic grass, I think, especially on the path) starting to spread underneath.

Did not walk in very far but soon turned back and got a close shot of moss in the wet seep (?) near the creek.

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Then returned to Discovery II and stopped at the sensory garden for a shot of the pussy willows in bloom.

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Lastly, made a quick stop at the rabbit-statue bridge for a view of the confluence of Davis and McCullough creeks.

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Spring on the prairie is still not so far along, but it’s nice to catch these early stages.

Sunday 13 March 2016. Spring Forward into Fog

It was 57 degrees F at 6:45 (new time) this morning, with light rain and fog. The sun would not be up until 7:06, so was happy to be there for a good part of the event of the dawn.

For a winter ride it was pretty comfortable, but still there was the constraint of time. And of the fog. Was drawn to Meadowbrook Park which I could reach relatively safely through the fog via the long length of bike lane with few cross streets. But also wondered what the Japan House hellebores were looking like…

So made a short trip there on Discovery II and saw that the early hellebores had sustained damage but still bloomed, a number wide open and luxurious amid the party browned foliage.

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Farther into the garden, fog softened the landscape.

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The pond and its surroundings especially looked ethereal and mysterious.

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There still were some of last year’s standing plant remains around the pond, which gave the sensation of being in winter and then looking ahead (if not exactly of “springing forward”) toward the approaching spring.

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Ready or not.

Saturday 12 March 2016. Increasing Color and Shape from the Ground

It was 48 degrees F and most cloudy this morning at 7:30 on a brief spin on Discovery II , after preparing to teach my afternoon yoga class .

It was a relaxed preparation; I’m slowly learning what to have ready vs. what to wait to see what the students bring on a given day. Focused on Supta Padangusthasana, a pose that took me a long time to love. What might a beginner be able to understand about it?

Once again didn’t have time for a ride but knew wonders were developing, for example, the at the lovely witch hazel

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and hellebore site.

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This early-emerging one seemed to have grown some but still had not changed much, even as other bulb flowers were emerging and bursting into color all around.

In full, fresh bloom were red-violet iris

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and blue-violet iris.

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All around were yellow crocuses, here and throughout the neighborhood, but didn’t photograph them this time.

And there were more hellebores coming up, like these

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And more, but it was time to go.

Sunday 6 March 2016. A Proper Loop of Meadowbrook

It was 30 degrees F under mostly clear skies (with scattered patches of fog) at 6:30 this slow morning.

Did not feel intensely present as I brought Discovery II out for a ride to where I wasn’t even yet sure. Just felt vaguely heavy and sad. The only thing to do was to surrender to it, moving forward with a measure of confidence that things would fall into place. Just pointed Discovery II toward the south and pedaled, soon realizing that the destination would be Meadowbrook Park.

Saw the sun-disc large in the spaces between the houses and trees to the east, but there wasn’t a good place to get a good photo. Let that one go, too.

Again was confronted with the changes around Meadowbrook Park, the expansion of Clark-Lindsey Village

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Rode right by the “wonky Christmas tree” without stopping.

Then a small flash of color caught my eye; the shiny green trunk of a sapling (seedling? Is there something in between?) next to blackberry canes.

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Against last year’s thatch
The thorny blackberry canes
Zig-zagged and glowed red.

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Then at the rabbit-statue bridge,

img_4927Meadowbrook Park unfolding on the before me was like smelling salts (which even of my years I understand only from movies). Felt the familiar awakening, the embrace of the landscape and its elements. Lovely peace!

Heard the sound of fairly recently-arrived red-winged blackbirds,

img_4930that spring and summer Meadowbrook soundtrack.

Also high in the trees were squirrels, so common (and often not especially welcome). But these three so high up looked to me like strange birds.

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Stopped at the Freyfogel Overlook to get a view of this morning’s showing of the prairie.

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A little way down the path saw an unusually shaped plant remnant,

img_4935 the result of a fungus hijacking the plant’s physiology for its own purposes, or maybe it was a wasp nest. A little more investigation would have distinguished between those very different possibilities, and I apologize for being such a lazy biologist, but today was content to appreciate its visual aspect.

And before finishing the loop saw several smallish deer at close range.

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Was glad to have had yet another Sunday morning visit to the familiar and always new and different, beloved Meadowbrook Park.

Saturday 5 March 2016. Helebores and Snowdrops

This morning at 7:40 it was 37 degrees under cloudy skies.

Hadn’t planned to post this morning: Saturday’s priority is preparing to teach yoga later in the day, and knew that trying to cram in too much activity just leads to frustration.
And the frustration factor seemed to be great this morning. Had earlier this week participated in a wonderful yoga teacher workshop where we worked in depth on intermediate-level poses. Now I had to prepare to teach the basics to older beginners and had to put that exciting stuff to the side, alas.

But tried to surrender to what I had to do, focusing on a point that occurred to me during the workshop: withdrawing tension from (not just “softening”) the face brings stability to the pose. Even beginners might be able to use that.

So, as usual, even such a basic practice left me feeling much more calm and open to the next activity than I anticipated.

At least I could stop and see what the early spring flowers were up to in the neighborhood.

The witch hazel still was aflower

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And the Helebores I've been following remained, looking a little better than last time.

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There was a particularly lovely bunch of snowdrops near a well-opened helebore.

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There were pink helebores!

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And there were purple crocuses tightly closed, under the overcast sky.

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Again wondered how could I have passed so many years in ignorance of Helebores. Thank you, Nancy!

Sunday 28 February 2016.

This morning at 6:40 it was 43 degrees F, the sky very clear. Had a sharp view of that clarity as I was getting ready to go and through the kitchen window there appeared, in a discernible moment, what had to be the day’s very first pre-dawn light, something I might otherwise have gone my whole life without seeing .

And did make it out (after practicing headstand with the memory of a the extension of my heels lifting the shoulders, with the help of two belts) before the sun had gotten too high.

Took Discovery II slightly north and eastward toward Weaver Park. The wind was coming from the south so preferred today to ride east-west so as to deal mostly just with cross winds.

My mind did not share the sky’s clarity, but it felt good to ride.

Brought the camera with zoom to catch a discernible view of the fox I’ve been seeing from east Main Street near the little grove of oaks.

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Then, a little farther down, behind a line of brushy trees, a fox-sized shape moved and stopped. Alas, could not get the camera to focus on it. But I’m sure it was there.

At Weaver Park caught the sun disc emerging above the neutral-hued landscape.

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And turned back. Did stop for snowdrops in the garden where in summer I’d seen royal catchfly and lead plant.

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The dangling white blooms shook in the south wind, which I was glad this morning not to have had to confront directly.