It rained all day, finally stopping in early evening. I went out for a walk almost as soon as it stopped, and found myself fascinated by the micro-bursts of the world I saw reflected in puddles.
You can see the tip top of a house.
A few more raindrops fell just after I took the previous photo.
Rain puddle selfie
Shel Silverstein warned me this would happen:
I’m spending a few days with my firstborn while he recovers from surgery. (He’s fine, thanks.) His apartment is located within a mile of just about anything you could want. There are several restaurants nearby, a grocery store four blocks away, two bookstores within a half mile, at least two department stores you can walk to in fifteen minutes, a skating rink! A large and amazing consignment store sits two blocks down the street. All of that just a quick walk from his home.
The rub is that nothing is engineered for pedestrians or bicycles. It’s all designed to encourage driving. I was walking to the convenience store up the street to get us coffee and the sidewalk simply stopped, requiring me to soldier on through a grassy field the rest of the way to the parking lot.
My son told me he walks to the grocery store sometimes, but getting across the major street where it’s located is tricky. “My strategy is sprint and pray,” he says.
For the planet to survive, we need to move away from car culture, but we can’t get individuals to do so on a large scale if we design everything to discourage walking and biking. I’m now even more grateful to live in a city that has invested in trails and seriously promotes active transportation.
It’s that time of year. Surprise lilies have sprung from the ground all over the neighborhood. I’m half convinced they’re conjured by magic, two-foot tall stems with blooming flowers appearing one day where there was nothing yesterday. Some people call them naked ladies because the stems are bare of leaves when they bloom.
I found some that had a modesty cover. But I could see their heads peeking out over the top.
Bonus for today’s post. Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago.
Naked Ladies (aka Surprise Lilies)
Tall, slender, topped in pink,
through the fence, naked ladies peek,
from my back yard corner.
My daughter delights in their color
and in their name,
points out more of them about the neighborhood.
She is six.
Her friends are sent
into spasms of giggles
when they are given
naked ladies to hold
on the walk home.
When I was six, I remember
my street was repaved.
I spent the summer asking
my brother, Did you burn your feet on the ass…phalt?
What you see depends on where you look. Frieda and I repeatedly ride to the same few places, for the most part. But I manage to see new things each time. Yesterday, we went to a city park where I’ve taken several photos in the past. But none look exactly like the ones I got yesterday. All of the photos below were shot from the same spot, but looking in different directions.
For one, I turned away from the creek and the natural landscape, pointing my camera toward the city instead. A little shot of Americana.
Facing the other way, you might not know there was an urban area so close.
I rode in the evening and stayed until I looked up and saw the lamp signaling me it was time to get home while I could still see and be seen.
The cicadas sang me a goodbye song.
These photos were taken while I was walking home from work on my dinner break (4-5 p.m.).
What made this hole in the middle of the walking path? And is the creature in there now? The hole is 3 to 4 inches in diameter. I’m not sure how deep. I wasn’t about to stick my hand in, or even put my face too close.
Could it have anything to do with this mound of dirt a little farther along? The photo doesn’t do justice to the height of the mound.
Last mystery — a single shoe. I’m always baffled when I see a single shoe lying abandoned.
The waters have finally receded around here, with trails opened up once again. I’m proud of myself for getting up early, after only three alarms, and setting out with *Frieda before it got too hot to ride.
We took the Wetlands trail today, and saw lots of pond scum — er, filamentous green algae. It’s beautiful in its own way. Here’s an informational page about it from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Turns out it floats because of bubbles it produces. And it’s a healthy part of the ecosystem, as long as it doesn’t take over everything.
*Frieda is my bicycle.