Sunday 22 January 2017. Just Past the Summit of Yankee Ridge

This morning at 7:01 it was 40 degrees F under cloudy skies.

Was eager to get on Shadow and take a slightly more extended ride: the temperature and wind were comfortable for this time of year, and there were no obstacles in the form of precipitation.
Did want to check on Meadowbrook Park and then go a little farther.

Forgot my mittens but didn’t want to go back. Would just have to think warm.

Stopped at the large hackberry tree with the folded lower trunk right next to the bike lane on Race near Florida

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which many times I’ve wanted to photograph but usually don’t stop because it’s so close to the street, not a great place to stop. But a quiet Sunday morning was a good time to go for it.

Had a quick crossing at Windsor Road!

Stopped for the “wonky Christmas tree”

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and the view from the rabbit-statue bridge of McCullough and Davis creeks, which were high and turbid.

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Meadowbrook’s color was darker and even more neutral than last time.

Got a shot of buds as a reminder of what would come after this stretch of grey and brown.

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The brown-grey park was empty of people and other motile macro-creatures (like deer) that I could see. The emptiness occupied that border between solitude and loneliness, heavy, but in a grounding way, even sweet, and evoking deeper breath.

Stopped at the Freyfogle overlook and while dismounting the bike saw a couple of attached earthworms, like a biology book illustration,

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effecting genetic recombination. I hope it’s suitable for more sensitive readers. It reminds one of that force that draws conspecifics together and also engenders, so to speak, so much disagreement among them.

Saw compass plant remains, still tall against the sky.

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And a few Baptisia (wild false indigo) pods

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But it seemed like someone had purposely been cutting them down.

Also saw a gall on a pasture rose cane.

Rode on to Old Church Road, the inclines of which Shadow navigated handily

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Turned around at Illinois Rte 130

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Noticed plant material embedded in the road, which bicycling has taught me contains more animal and vegetable material that I’d ever have guessed.

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Stopped for a view of a flooded plowed field with clods of black prairie loam poking above the water.

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My hands were cold alright, but got home with no actual damage and was happy to have seen those 12 miles in January.

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