It was 71 degrees F and cloudy with a 12-mph WSW wind at 6:25 pm as I took Rhododendron out toward south First Street.
Rode south on Race Street, reasonably comfortable though feeling the somberness of the clouds.
Did not stop before Windsor Road except to examine the bike for the source of a light banging sound, but could not make it happen when I got off and spun each wheel independently. It was annoying but didn’t seem to impair the bike’s performance so just rode on.
Stopped at the linden tree on the corner of Race and Windsor.
Was not sure whether it had not yet fully bloomed or whether it was mostly done blooming, but it didn’t exude the perfume I remember from past years.
Headed into the westerly breeze on Windsor, noticing dark clouds ahead.
Observed how the diminished light and color pressed on my mood. The expression “like a wet blanket” came to mind.
There was some current pain in it (everyone has his or her list!), a little fear that the clouds would deliver discomfort-inducing rain or even electrical danger, but also some broody comfort, a little space to allow that pain before going back to face the slings and arrows that caused it.
Nevertheless decided to limit the ride (oh waste of extra daylight and free time!) to checking the lead plant at the City of Champaign “Prairie Restoration.”
The lead plants were starting to bloom,
lax stewardship notwithstanding.
And didn’t notice any plague of beetles, either. There is hope for that place, I think.
Thought again that I was missing a chance to get in good ride, but really felt averse to being far from home in a storm, and was not sure that the banging, knocking sound was not the sign of some kind of trouble with the bike.
Then riding north on First Street happened to look look at my right Keen sandal, which had a plastic knob at the end of loop of the elastic lacing, and saw that it was banging on the bike frame. Mystery solved!
So on the way back stopped at Japan House garden
Also stopped at the prairie planting on Florida and Orchard, where the summer bloom was beginning to build.
There were post-peak spiderwort
common milkweed, in a big way(!)
false sunflower, sporting either milkweed or box elder bugs,
and lovely blue vervain.
Made it home without getting wet, satisfied enough with the ride.