It was 8:30 am, late by Vélo du Jour standards, but it was a beautiful fall morning au velo, and I headed in the direction of north High Cross Road to see the colors, wearing a wide smile.
Found myself flying along east Main Street with ease, stopping first at the grove of oaks across from the Dart plant. Though of the fox I used to see there Sunday mornings but didn’t expect to see it: who knows what might have happened to it since then, and it was later in the morning than when I used to look.
By then it caught my eye, closer than it was last time. Had no great hope of getting a photo but went for the iPhone just in case.
It’s the tiny dog-like head and neck at the base (left side) of the large burr oak tree.
It always makes me think (though I know it’s ridiculous) that it was waiting for me to show up.
Then it ran off into the field to the west across the train tracks.
Got a fall-color photo of the planted parkway maples
and rode up Main with, seemingly, effortless effort, through the Berringer subdivision, and over I-74. Stopped to peek at the possum-bone site (where I’d been observing what happened to a road kill over the past four years or so)
which was so full of trash, like it was a designated dumping station, alas. Saw a couple of bones there, but I think more probably recent chicken than old possum.
Trees near the Saline Branch were just starting to turn color.
Passed the edge of Brownfield Woods where there were a few late asters,
surrounded by stinging nettle and poison ivy. Hoped I hadn’t already stepped in it.
Rode on northward noticed a delightful tiny hint of a hill sloping away, a lovely slight departure from total flatness, near Ford Harris Road.
Oh, the subtlety of the central Illinois landscape!
Turned east on Ford Harris and stopped at the Yearsly (so it was labeled) Cemetery.
Seemed like a nice location to contemplate mortality. Did not spend enough time to look exhaustively but did find a few thought-provoking markers.
Getting back on the road noticed recently emerged asparagus plants. Didn’t know they showed up so fresh in the fall. Global warming, perhaps.
Planned to ride east to Cottonwood Road and south to Oaks or Airport and back to High Cross, but just after the turn saw a large brown dog in front of the upcoming farm house. The dog didn’t look especially aggressive, but I wasn’t up for the possibility of any form of problematic interaction. So without hesitation turned around to head back.
On the way back had a chance to photograph spilled corn kernels on the road
that were not interesting enough to make me stop on the way out. But I do like to catch the harvest, the yearly “results” of this sprawling land of central Illinois, in the middle of its process, when I can.
Passed, as I have many times without comment, the sign for the U of I Aeronomy (the study of the upper atmosphere, as I again googled to find out) station.
On the way back faced a bit of a head wind–no wonder it was so easy on the way out. Not bad, though. Was grateful for the lack of rain and for the mild temperature.
Close in to town was a cornfield all ready to harvest. Reminded me of a crowd of starving men.
Wonder how much longer crops will grow this close to downtown Urbana. Change keeps happening. Autumn is our yearly reminder of that.