Blooming witch-hazel at the botanical gardens has always been a harbinger of spring. So, I was surprised that it was in full bloom last weekend when we walked in Forest Park. Looking it up, I found that different varieties bloom at different times of the year and these unexpected flowers were not some artifact of climate change. I confess that I was relieved that this was true. 2020 has been messed up enough already. I didn’t need some astringent apocalypse occurring.
I pushed them off as long as I could, but when the gas company threatened to shutoff the heat in mid-November, I relented and scheduled an appointment to have our meter checked. The meter reader with gas sniffer in hand showed up early this morning. Billed as a safety inspection, I suspect that it was more about ensuring that we had not jumped the meter than looking for gas leaks. Anyway, it was minimally intrusive and required no real face-to-face contact.
This afternoon, we did some more curbside shopping. This time across the not so wide Missouri to St. Chuck. Its water level is still down from this summer’s drought. Afterwards, we headed over to Defiance, Daniel Boone’s final homestead. There we parked at the Katy trailhead. We hadn’t brought our bikes, so we walked. We made it as far as Matson, about a mile-and-a-half. There was a good number of cyclist out and one of these members of the great unwashed mask-less masses cat-called out to Anne that she was too pretty to be wearing a mask. Apparently in St. Chuck only ugly girls get to wear facemasks, get to not get Covid and get to live another day. Fortunately, Anne is both pretty and smart and always wears her mask. We did some birding. One stretch of the trail was overrun with cedar waxwings. Probably because of all the mulberries and bittersweet berries that lined it in that section. The Katy runs along the base of the Missouri River’s limestone bluffs. On the way home we stopped at an overlook above the river, where I flew the drone.
Oops, my editor and co-naturalist, reminds me that the mulberries were actually honeysuckles.