Friday 8 July 2016. Summer Prairie Near Crystal Lake Pool

This morning at 5:25 it was 70 degrees F, the sky with thin, finely-textured clouds. Getting ready to go, caught a glimpse of deep pink sky through the front hall window, but it had faded by the time I got Discovery II out to head for Crystal Lake pool.

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Thought about going to see Meadowbrook Park before morning swim, but time was short. So just made a slight longer trip around the fairgrounds

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to the pool, with a stop at the tiny Lincoln Bindery “prairie.”

The first image to attract my attention was of the abundant, though past peak-bloom, purple prairie clover.

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Then, a little farther along, were the white species.

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Knew there were two species, but today it looked like the white were just a color variant of the purple. But then closer examination revealed the differences in their leaves: the white-flowered species with more “football-shaped” leaves, the purple’s leaves more evenly elongate.

Other flowers represented today were white wild indigo (and their small

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and large

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bush clover,

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false sunflower, rosinweed, and compass plant.

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Then proceeded to the end of Coler Avenue and the thrill-hill between Busey Woods and Woodlawn Cemetery. But stopped (reminded myself that it’s not a great place to stop but did so anyway) because the big oak tree across the road at the top of the hill was naked, in the middle of leafy summer, an emblem of the place before which it stood.

Flew down the hill. (Good, yes!)

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The cemetery drew my attention more than usual because at the moment I know at least three wonderful people who are facing their arrival at such a place. Makes me so sad yet aware of and so grateful for the love they’ve brought into the world and where our lives have intersected.

Followed the curve of the road till it crossed the Saline Branch, straitened into Country Club Road, then turned toward the pool on Broadway. Saw lovely prairie flowers abloom in the plantings near the entrance to the pool: vervain,

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yellow and purple coneflower, and wild bergamot.

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On the way back home went along the Boneyard Creek river-walk, where lots of fish were visible in the water (though not in the photo), and also bullfrogs, of which one is visible between the water and the vegetation, if you use your imagination.

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Saw under the bridge a couple of swallows that swooped after a feather that floated above the water, let it go, and swooped at it again.

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Thought it might be some kind courtship game, but then wondered whether they might have thought it was a moth or a fly.

Decided that I like this public works project of the river-walk after all, especially looking into the water and seeing various forms of animal life. Even the mosaic on the wall near its southwest end is, I think, kind of nice.

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I still don’t care for the sculpture of half-buried and gasping fish (“Athirst”), and the river-walk remains invisible from street level, but with a little love and attention it might make a favorite place for taste of nature close to downtown.

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