Wednesday 17 August 2016. Glimpse of Summer Fog

It was 70 degrees F and cloudy at 7:07 this morning, with a bit of distant fog. Am behind in my posts and had intended to make yoga practice and not a bike ride the first item on the morning’s agenda, but the fog was fleeing and did not want to miss it.

So headed south on Rhododendron to Meadowbrook Park. Stopped to get a shot of a ginkgo tree with fog behind it.

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At Meadowbrook, sped over the rabbit-statue bridge and around the bend (did use a bit of brake) and looked for fog images.

Besides the fog, the prairie bloom was muted with maturity (and perhaps disease?)

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but so far there still were flowers, like these cup plants,

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not to mention the giant ragweed.

Noticed a swamp milkweed covered with aphids.

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It was a picture of destruction, but not without its own strange beauty.

Saw early goldenrod with dew-beaded remains of a spiderweb nearby.

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Knew there was not much time but did go as far as the “upland” cardinal flowers site and get a distant shot

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as well as a shot of big bluestem flowers that were not quite fully in bloom.

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Did not examine it (or others of its kind) to see whether it was early or late in its bloom.

Saw a beaded, mostly intact spiderweb

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and knew there must be lots more of them, jewels of condensed fog out there in the rest of the prairie, but, alas, had to leave them undiscovered and make my way back to the day’s demands.

Turned back

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but did stop to see some nice clusters of wingstem

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in front of the dense streameside growth
and, back at the rabbit-statue bridge, the glorious, if partly hidden, riparian cardinal flowers.

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Was grateful to have made it for this visit, another example of how a short time of awareness is WAY better than none!

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Sunday 16 August 2015. Dawn at Meadowbrook and Some Miles on First Street 

It was 68 or 70 degrees F (consecutive readings on the phone weather ap, and really thought I could feel both temperatures in the layers of air. 

Really wanted some therapeutic miles this morning, but also knew Meadowbrook Park would be full of late-summer flowers (e.g., cardinal flowers), grasses, and images of them in the early light.  So decided to loop Meadowbrook and then head south on First Street. 

First stopped at “my” organic apple tree.  

 
A little farther down was drawn to a full cluster of surprise lilies.  

 
The trip was not quite so express, already. 

Noticed fog down toward Windsor Road, more photographic temptation.  

 
At Meadowbrook, the light still was too low  to get a decent shot of my main objective there: cardinal flowers. So turned toward the Race Street pavilion and walked Discovery II  over the little wooden bridge across McCullough Creek (rather low and

 quiet these days) toward the “Art and Billee Spomer” prairie.   

Once there was greeted by blooming big bluestem, beaded spiderwebs strung among its blades and the sun coming up behind it all through the waning fog.  

 

It was not hard to find things to photograph.  

 Every step presented beautiful images (the sky and the spiderwebs alone!)  

 
and knew I had to stop and leave or would be there a LONG time not doing anything else before it was time to go home. 

So with great resolve turned around and got back on the paved path, headed for the rabbit-statue bridge and the cardinal flowers. 

On the way saw a nice view of the sun coming up over the fog and some early goldenrod. 

  

And on below the rabbit-statue bridge, the blazing red cardinal flowers were not disappointing!  

 Was glad to see the several plants on both sides of (mostly dry) Davis Creek 

 

which promised their continued presence at this site in the future. 

Again tore myself away to make some miles on South Race Street. Caught the sun above the southwest edge of Meadowbrook, the ground soft and misty. 
  

Then turned west on Old Church Road and then south on First Street and stopped at the prairie garden with all the cup plants on the west side of the road.  Not long ago royal catchfly had bloomed here, but could not find any trace of them left. Still, plenty of joyous yellow cup plant and compass plant flowers remained. 

  

Then continued south till the trip odometer hit 11 miles, to the edge of Tolono. 
 

Turned back and enjoyed a mostly uninterrupted, reasonably comfortable ride, satisfied especially with the balance of  catching the visual beauty on the way and feeling the soothing sensation of riding. 

Wednesday 20 August 2014. A Few Clouds of Fog and Prevailing Cream Gentians

It was 66 degrees F and mostly clear as I rolled Rhododendron out of the garage for a trip to Meadowbrook Park.

It was a pretty usual trip until I got close to Windsor Road, where there was a rather discrete blanket, one cloud’s worth, of fog blowing in from the south.

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Rode through a heavy cloud, then was out in the clear, then could see another cloud moving north. A good example of fog as clouds on the ground.

Stopped at the “wonky Christmas tree” because it anchored a spiderweb, made visible by the fog that had passed through and condensed on its threads.

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Sped over the rabbit-statue bridge over McCullough Creek, then came back to peek at the faint red spike of cardinal flowers upstream.

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Must devote a trip to spending time with them up close.

Noticed the big bluestem grass was in bloom, with its rows of delicately dangling stamens.

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Always when I see the big bluestem flowers my brain plays the part of the Brahms German Requiem that goes: “Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras, und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen, wie, des Grases Blumen.” (“All flesh is as grass, and all the goodness of men like the flowers of grass.”)

Had planned to trek to the middle of the prairie to see the royal catchfly but got caught, as it were, by the dew-defined spiderwebs strung up in the grasses.

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Was feeling like I’ve missed a lot of the unique progress of the prairie this year, which prompted a song of the middle-aged (grown up but not yet old) Crosby, Stills, and Nash: “And there’s so much time to make up, everywhere you turn, time we have wasted on the way. So much water moving underneath the bridge…”
Which helped me to let go of the plan to be with the red flowers today.

Noticed the great abundance of cream gentians,

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in the old places (e.g., near the Market statue, below the Freyfogel Overlook, and knew they were thick along the soft path) and also in places I don’t remember seeing them, like closer to the southwestern corner of the park.

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Close examination of the plants revealed that for almost every one the tips had been nipped off.

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Almost seemed like this removal of the tip stimulated the growth of the remaining buds. Seemed like a win/win: the herbivores had something to eat and the plants went on to prosper.

Saw a lovely “bouquet” against the mist, including milkweed with large green pods (with milkweed bugs but no monarch caterpillars I could find), old yellow coneflowers, Monarda, rosinweed, and, not unattractive in this arrangement, the ubiquitous giant ragweed.

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Got a shot of a bush clover with a lot of brown flowers.

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Love how bush clover, though never especially spectacular, looks distinctive and handsome in every stage of its life, even its aging and decay. Good to contemplate as the summer winds down toward autumn.