Day 35 - Return to winter. / by Edward Crim

I wasn’t in the park today until 3pm; I was dealing with the bad news about my car.

“With 275 thousand miles on it,” the man from the auto repair shop told me, “it really isn’t worth repairing. It has no compression; the timing chain must have completely slipped, and the oil is burnt. It’s as if there was a fire in the oil pan. You would have to replace the entire engine.”

It was yesterday that I received a call from Marcus that he was stranded by the side of highway 40, between Lindbergh and McKnight road. When I got there a Ladue policeman was keeping a watch over him, a very good thing considering the narrowness of the shoulder and the speed of the cars passing by. It was $105 to have the car towed to the repair shop, and today I learned its fate.

“How much do I owe you?” I asked. There was a pause on the other end of the line before the man replied,

“I don’t want to add insult to injury, so, $25 will do it.”

Tomorrow’s work is waiting for me; cleaning out the dearly departed and calling the junkyard.

The ground in Forest Park was very soft from all the wet we have had recently, but I was wearing my new muck boots, a gift from my son-in-law, and my feet were snug and dry. I parked my little blue Ford Ranger that my friend Shaw calls “the Smurf mobile” (he drives a Lincoln Town Car that I refer to as “the Gangsta mobile”), by the side of the Deer Lake swamp and set out to find what I could find. 

I found lots of soggy ground, very few birds, a lady named Sandy feeding the ducks on Deer Lake, wind stirring the water by the Muny, some interesting things about Cypress trees, some hearty joggers and an interesting memorial. And the wind blew, the clouds darkened the sky and the temperature descended into a more wintery range.

The Bald Cypress trees grow in many places in the park; around half of Circle Lake, on the north and west sides of Bowl Lake, and throughout the swampy areas of the park, and by many of the park waterways. They have an interesting root system which can grow underground to nearby water 20 to 50 feet away before bending down. They also put out what are commonly called “knees” on their root systems, though no one seems to know exactly why. I certainly don’t, but I do like a good mystery! 

Cypress roots reaching from the two trees in the background to the nearby stream.

Cypress roots reaching from the two trees in the background to the nearby stream.