Sunday 22 May 2016. Spring Farmland, Punctuated with Flowers

It was 53 (or so) degrees F this morning at 6:30, the air pretty much calm and the sky cloudless.

It was time to take Rhododendron out for some smooth distance. Nice as it was to be able to see the scenery on Discovery II, it was more work to pedal, especially uphill and into the wind. Would just have to get over the shoulder, hip, knee, and back issues the road bike might induce.

Thought, “the beauty of the morning.”

So headed without stopping out Main Street. Looked for the fox across from the Dart plastic factory but this morning did not see it. Maybe it was there right at sunrise and I was too late.

Passed Weaver Park, crossed University Avenue, cut through the Beringer subdivision and came out on High Cross Road, on and under which the traffic was pleasantly sparse.

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Felt mostly quite comfortable!

Though a lot about my late friend Nancy, whose memorial (“celebration of life!”) was yesterday. Nancy, the great mobilizer of the gifts of others, and I took many an early morning bike ride together. The scents in the air, the songs of birds, the color of certain flowers, the angle of the sun, all called forth memories of those rides. A sweet sadness.

Mostly just wanted to ride this morning without a lot of stopping, but there was that black and green land everywhere which today I found charming.

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The corn plants, for example, were so small and tender.

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Then along Brownfield Woods saw some great waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appenduculatum)

img_6447semi-hidden among the multiplying leaves of jewelweed. This stretch next to Brownfield Woods is the only place I’ve ever seen this species, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s rare, of course.

And the last few few woodland Phlox flowers still held forth.

Then northward again, through the farm land.

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Had passed this sign many times and was curious about it but never enough to stop. Until today. So now, at last, I know what “aeronomy” means. Yes, it has to do with air, with the atmosphere, but not with agronomy, which it sounds like. (See link for a lot more information.)

Kept going and reached the lovely sway in a the road at Champaign County highway 20.

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Rode on, looked to the west and saw blue sky and black land trimmed in grass green.

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Boring? Pure? My central Illinois.

Some way north of the sway in the road passed a farm where a dog was barking. Thought I’d remembered from last year a dog at this place that didn’t chase or bite me and hoped it would be the same this time. Yes, fortunately, (perhaps because I looked straight ahead and went at full speed) there was no problem. But wished there was another way back so I wouldn’t have to chance an attack on the return trip. Tried to imagine the worst possible scenario–the dog tearing off a piece of my calf or my crashing over the bike to the ground at high speed. Thought about friends and acquaintances who’d had bike crashes–took them a while to recover!

But it was a sunny morning, not far from human presence (i.e., assistance if needed), and my iPhone was charged. Was ready for (my picture of) the worst.

Even so, approaching the dog place, could feel the physical manifestations of fear: sweating, heart racing, shortness of breath, and didn’t like them. Really? How the body responds to the wacky mind! Maybe I could just call on good old denial, because, really, given that I’d already gone past safely, the odds were good that it would be the same on the way back. Ignore it and it probably will go away. Not real courage, but nevertheless it often serves.

And, again, the barking dog did not attack. Whew! Vitals returned to normal.

Rode back pretty much without stopping, but was attracted by the profusion of showy evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) (actually not quite native to Illinois but to parts a little farther south and west) in the wildflower garden across Main from the west edge of Weaver Park.

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As I started taking pictures of the abundant pale-pink four-petaled flowers, the beginning of the Vivaldi Gloria filled my head.

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Yes, flowers can do that. Especially with the foil of acres of agriculture. It was a great conclusion to the beginning of the day.

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