I parked my car on Government Drive, before I get to the Wells traffic circle, get out, open up my camera bag, and a mosquito settles on my nose. I love St. Louis in the summertime!
My plant identifier (Siri, whom I use to email myself notes as I walk, transcribes this word as “addenda fire”) tells me this is Korean Mint (“Karin meant” in Siri Speak) so naturally I break off a leaf and pinch it to smell the oils. It has a strong, pungent odor that is not unpleasant, but not particularly minty.
All around me the birds are calling from the tree tops. A woodpecker is quite literally beating his head against a tree in the woods between me and Skinker Boulevard. A lone walker (“Alone Walker” according to Siri, who just loves to make ordinary words into proper nouns) comes down the path, but otherwise, except for the insects buzzing around my head and the birds shouting about whatever it is that birds shout about, I could be the only one here. I wander the path through the woods for a good half hour, and I do encounter one more human running through with his dog.
At a quater ’til 9 o’clock I hear church bells ringing in the distance (today is Sunday, after all). In the deep woods, the birds are louder and in clearings beneath the tall trees grow sassafras and wild grape vines, Virginia creeper and nightshade. Where I am standing, a thick patch of red raspberry brambles grows, promising a sweet treat in just a few days.
I cross Government drive and walk along the path that leads towards the zoo, where grows a broadleaf plant apparently called princess feathers. It must be tasty, because it is certainly bug eaten! I am close enough to the zoo to hear the whistle of the zoo train as I walk past catalpa trees and dogwoods in bloom. More raspberries here, soon to be good for eating.
The mowed field next to Wells Drive across from the picnic pavilions is thick with mock strawberries, and around the edges of the field grow black locust, dogwood, and goldenrod. Maples and oaks shade the woods behind them. There is a lot of trash littering the grass here, but there are even more raspberries as well. Bring a bucket.