I am on my bicycle again today, in spite of the 53 degree temperature this morning. I ride through the park to my studio to work on photos before heading home for lunch and a few more miles of riding. It’s along the prairie boardwalks north of the Steinberg rink that I alarm the black crowned night heron, who in turn startles me with a sudden takeoff from under the boardwalk a few feet from where I am photographing water lilies and false indigo. I find him closer to the skating rink, slowly stalking the edge of the waters, eager to introduce himself to some unwary citizen
It is, in fact, a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as Fred would say. The temperature is in the low 60s, the sun is shining brightly, and at 8 o’clock I’m off for a bicycle ride around America’s premier urban park. Near the picnic grounds along Wells Drive just past the traffic circle at Government Drive, I spy a young cheerful looking young man spraying herbicide in one of the rock line and water channels in the park. I stop to get a photo, but he is a little bit reluctant to talk to me.
It’s Sunday evening and I’m out with my buddy Shaw, but only for an hour as he is eager to see totally unrealistic fight scenes and hundreds of people get killed in the latest John Wick film. So we haunt the Hampton traffic circle by the zoo and photograph the allium planted there before getting some closeup photos of the Albert Paley Cor-Ten steel sculpture entitled
It was a lazy Saturday and though work seemed to go really s l o w, the day was rushing past. It was late in the afternoon when I packed wife and dog into the car and drove to Jefferson lake to prowl for photos.
Rigby, the mostly noble and protective hound, proceeded to race excitedly around trees and water and anything else he could find. I intervened as he was dragging my wife into the lake, and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to get mama wet. Still,
My back is killing me and I need to limber up, so onto Roamiette, my trusty bicycle I hop and take off for Forest Park. Flying down Kraft Avenue toward the park I am able to hit 33.5 MPH, but in the park itself I am not able to get beyond 29 MPH. It could be because of the wind, which seems to be coming from whichever direction I am headed, or it could be because I’m a bit out of shape from my diet of strawberry ice cream and chocolate chips.
Today I arrive in Forest Park shortly after 4 PM and park next to the swamp. I think I will collect leaves today. I start to collect some leaf samples, but am thinking there has to be a better way of categorizing them than simply stuffing them into my backpack.
The swallows are swooping and diving over the algae-clogged waters, so I park myself on the edge and watch for a while. I try to follow the swallows
Between Wells Drive and US Highway 40 there is a tall mound, just north and west of the Park and Forestry Division yard where they keep their trucks, tractors, mowers and other equipment The sky has been calling me today, an overarching field of cyan wandered by herds of clouds, like so many celestial sheep. I scramble to the top to get some big sky photos and see him on the fence around the horse paddock, glinting golden in the afternoon sun. My first gold finch photo of the year! An eastern kingbird also perches on the fence just a few yards away.
Everything has a name, I just don’t know them all. Yesterday I started using an app on my phone, “PictureThis” to identify plants. Today I put it to the test on the southern fringes of the Kennedy Forest, where nature meets the interstate highway.
There is a little stream there, that flows eastward between the zoo and the highway, broadening into a swampy area about where the westbound exit onto Clayton Road starts. It is certainly not quiet there, the roar of the highway is omnipresent, overpowering, dismaying,