On Today’s Walk: Rowing Out of My Rut

Park path
For anyone wondering what filter I used, it’s called Smudge on Lens

Well, I’ve gone and done another 2022 goal. I explored a path I don’t usually traverse on my walks. It’s not brand new to me. In fact, it’s in my old neighborhood, where I used to live twenty years ago. But I haven’t walked over there in a minute or two.

For some bonus exercise I got a bit of rowing in.

I’m not sure if I followed all advisories. ???

Instructions
Not suitable for people with general health conditions.

I only have specific health conditions, so I’m probably okay.

I survived to continue my journey, and encountered a majestic tree.

Leafless tree

Oh, I can never resist a wooden pedestrian bridge! I wonder what’s around the curve on the other side.

pedestrian bridge

Uh oh!

Into every life path, a little ice must appear.

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On Today’s Walk: Rock Bridge

I’m using up some holiday and vacation leave this week while my oldest kid visits. Thanks to climate change probably, the weather is warm enough for many long walks.

Today we went to Missouri’s Rock Bridge State Park. There were a few other walkers there, but very few. We had most of the wonders to ourselves. Of course, the first thing we had to see was *the* rock bridge for which the park is named.

Rock Bridge
That’s my cohort there in the distance.

Here’s another view of the rock bridge, this one from above:


We made our way down the Devil’s Icebox Cave, but the water was up too high for us to explore it much. We also neglected to bring flashlights.


Next, it was off on the trail that leads to a disused stone grain silo built 100+ years ago. As evidenced by the artwork, plenty of people have been here before us.


I found a friend inside.

Toad
Howdy, friend!

Silo interior
View from inside the silo

A little research told me this festively colored fungus is called fulvifomes robiniae.

Fungus

It is nice to get out of my own neighborhood occasionally. Missouri is a state with a lot of natural beauty, so I don’t have to travel far to find a pleasant hike.

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On Today’s Walk: Talk of Sycamores and Ancient Greek Sculpture

Son the younger, who is currently living with me and the hubs, accompanied me today on my walk. We stopped to marvel at some large American sycamore trees, notable for their size and the fact that the bark sheds off, revealing stunning white wood underneath.


According to the Missouri Botanical Garden site, the American sycamore “is generally regarded to be the most massive tree indigenous to eastern North America. It is a deciduous, usually single-trunk tree that typically grows to 75-100’.” Indeed, I left the houses and cars in two of the photos for scale. The trees looked especially magnificent against the vivid blue, cloudless sky.

I know what you’re wondering about now, dear reader. When does Ancient Greek sculpture come into this story? The answer is, right now.

Son II commented that the peeling bark and white wood reminded him of some articles he’s been reading about statues from Greek antiquity. I learned some things from him during this conversation, notably that for centuries, scholars believed said statues had always been white. However, new scientific examinations reveal traces of pigment ingredients, showing the sculptures had originally been painted.

He also told me he believed from the images he’d seen imagining the original colors were off the mark. He thought artists who were so skilled and took such great care when carving wouldn’t have then made their creation garish. When I came home and looked on the internet, I saw what he meant. But I guess we can’t really know. Still, it’s fascinating to read about how a misconception is being revealed after all this time. Here’s a good article I found. The authors must know about culture, because they use British spellings, right?

Anyway, today’s walk was educational in more ways than one.

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On Today’s Walk: Down But Not Out

Tree
Down but not out

This tree is in a park near my house. Maybe someone else can identify the kind for me. I like to think of it as a survivor tree. At some point in the past, it fell over on its side. But did that make it give up? It did not!

It pushed some roots down from one side of its trunk and branches up from the other. It’s thrived like that for years now. I like to visit it for encouragement when things get difficult. It reminds me that life can knock you down, but that doesn’t always mean you can’t survive or even flourish. It reminds me not to give up, but to look for new alternatives, to adapt when faced with changes beyond my control.

Incidentally, the branches on the right side of the photo were propped there by someone recently. There’s a nice space in the middle, the right size to for a small child to sit in. Hmmm.

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On Today’s Walk: Arachnid Sighting

Marbled orb weaver

It’s an unusually warm and idyllic day for November, and I have to work. The silver lining is that I get an hour for lunch and live close enough to walk home. I encountered one of nature’s wonders casually crossing the street. The iNaturalist “Seek” app on my phone informed me this critter is a marbled orb weaver spider. I almost said “guy” instead of “critter” because further research revealed that the females tend to stay hidden in piles of leaves, except when retrieving food from their webs. However, even more research tells me the size of this one indicates it’s a female. I’m going with “I don’t know.”

According to the Insect Identification site, these spiders are common in wooded areas near water.Aha! The road I was on runs alongside a park, and the park has a creek running through it. Common or not, it didn’t look familiar to me. Maybe because they’re usually hanging around in the brush and not out on the asphalt. It sure is eye catching, isn’t it? And nothing to worry about. They are neither aggressive nor venomous.

This one was trucking right along and seemed to have an agenda. Whatever its destination, I hope it arrives safely.

On Today’s Walk: Civic Minded Edition

I voted sticker
Got my sticker!

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Today’s walk took me to my polling place, exactly one mile from my house. It was sunny and 48 degrees, perfect voting weather. We have one issue on the ballot — whether to renew a tax that funds some parks and rec projects. My town has a pretty good trail system, but it needs to be expanded into a couple of underserved neighborhoods. Passage would help fund that, in part, as well as possibly reopening a couple of local playgrounds. As is obvious to anyone who reads my blog, I love walking/biking trails and make frequent use of them.

On my way home, I met a new friend. I felt it was another civic duty to engage with them:

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Speaking of civic mindedness, I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood abundant in little free libraries. Here’s one I hadn’t noticed before today:

Little free library

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On This Week’s Walks: Surprises

I’ve been walking, just not making the time to post. So instead of “On Today’s Walk,” I’m doing a small compilation from the past few days. Even when you walk the same routes over and over for years, you’ll still find surprises.

What exactly is happening on this retaining wall? Is this the aftermath of a battle, with the victor standing triumphant? Or is it an act of compassion, with a friend rushing to aid a fallen companion?


Hmmm..what are those two things in the middle of the grass, visible from thirty feet away?

Field
Mystery objects

Maybe a closer investigation is in order:

Two shrooms

Aha! Wow, those are big! How big?

Big fungus
That’s a size 8 1/2 (US) women’s shoe.

And finally: always expected, yet still a surprise with their sudden appearance every year. My first surprise lily sighting of 2021.

Surprise lilies

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On Today’s Walk: Spring at Last

It was funny — funny odd – after the time change last week that you couldn’t tell a difference around here. That’s because the sun didn’t come out from behind the clouds for about five days. It was like one continual night, with lots of rain. Kind of in tune with my spirits of late. Until yesterday, when things finally brightened.

Then came today, the first day of spring. I was able to walk in the sun this afternoon wearing jeans and t-shirt, no jacket. My son accompanied me. Once you get them through the teen years, they become willing to be seen with you again. They’ll even indulge you in things like stopping to snap pictures of new blossoms. I think this is a magnolia tree. Whatever it is, it made me happy.

On Today’s Walk: the Nightmare Before Christmas

My son-in-residence consented to walk around the neighborhood with his old mom today. We live in an interesting part of the city and always find something new to catch our attention. The neighbors did not disappoint today.


Mix of Halloween & Xmas decorations
There’s always something to celebrate.

Carved tree stump
Just hanging around in my jorts.

I should note the skeletons and tree stump art are not in the same yard.

A Poem and Yesterday’s Walk

The trees I saw on yesterday’s walk inspire me to share a poem I wrote.


Tree Envy

Instead of dreary gray strands threading subtly widening paths
about my head,
I desire blazing red 
for my autumn color
interspersed with patches of can’t-peel-your-eyes away yellow
and clusters
of an orange so perfectly sun-toasted
it holds its own as an independent hue
not remotely a blend of the other two.
I wish for the colors to burst
out all at once
so that people I meet
will feel their breath catch
at the splendor,
the glorious culmination of my maturity.



~~~