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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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?
Maybe a closer investigation is in order:
Aha! Wow, those are big! How big?
And finally: always expected, yet still a surprise with their sudden appearance every year. My first surprise lily sighting of 2021.
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.
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.
I should note the skeletons and tree stump art are not in the same yard.
The trees I saw on yesterday’s walk inspire me to share a poem I wrote.
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.
All shall be pandemic, and all shall be pandemic and all manner of things shall be pandemic.
A friend recently asked on Facebook, “What did we even think about before COVID-19?” What indeed? I’m trying to remember. Baseball, I guess.
I’m doing an okay job most days keeping my equilibrium, but it’s impossible not to ruminate on coronavirus when it’s influencing every facet of life. All shall be pandemic, and all shall be pandemic and all manner of things shall be pandemic. That’s how it feels at times. Anything and everything I encounter is now viewed in the context of one particular disease, even when I get a long walk on a very nice morning.
But it’s not all complete despair. This is part of a mural along the MKT Trail.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” — Julian of Norwich.
Since nearby nature trails all seem to be crowded enough to make physical distancing a challenge, I’ve been sticking to city streets and sidewalks. Today’s walk had an education theme, as I decided to traverse a portion of Columbia, Missouri’s African American History Trail. I did not make it to all 37 sites, but I found a few of them. Maybe I can make it a project to visit all of them before my workplace opens again.