These little yellow flowers are another bright sign of spring, after a particularly long, dark and cold winter. We have weathered a year of pandemic, but being newly vaccinated, we now look forward to the year to come. We look forward to traveling again. I’m looking forward to getting a haircut. We’ve made our first dentist appointment in more than a year. I’m ready to shed my hermit’s rags and get back out into the world again. Some patience is still required though. An internet search revealed that a two-week wait is required, before the vaccine takes effect and a full four-weeks are needed for full potency. So, I guess I’m going to miss spring break again this year. I so much wanted to party in Gulf Shores. In the meantime, I look forward to plotting and planning my return to society. What to do? Where to go? Who to see?
We walked in Tower Grove Park and saw crocus flowers for the first time this year. We didn’t need to go so far to see them though, because as I was backing out of the driveway, I spied our neighbor’s crocus crop. It was even better than the ones we saw in the park. Spring is just around the corner.
On our walk through the park, I took time out to fly the drone for the first time this year. My reluctance to fly so far this year has been in part my cautious response to last year’s near fatal disaster, but it has also been rather cold outside. Too cold to operate the drone, which requires glove free hands, for my phone’s touchscreen. This flight’s planned shot was a cypress grove in the park. Located in a traffic circle, this near uniform group of trees has always supplied an eerie, completive and still respite from the other goings-on in the park. In the summer their shade is both welcome and cooling, but now on the cusp of spring I had expected that their limbs would be bare and offer an unusual lookdown image.
Instead of the expected bare branches, casting crisp shadows, I was surprised to find that the cypress trees had a fuzzy outline. Examining the ground beneath these trees, we discovered the reason why, catkins, male catkins. A few of them had fallen. These catkins spread pollen, which fertilize the female cypress flowers that don’t even look like flowers, but more closely resemble cones.
In other way more important news, we now both have appointments for Thursday afternoon, the day after tomorrow, to get vaccinated. It will be the J&J vaccine, which is a one-and-done dose vaccine and we will have to travel halfway across the state to get it in Columbia. Earlier this week, Anne was speaking to Joanie, who had heard that some of her friends had been able to get vaccinated in Columbia. We signed up right afterwards. Anne got an email, her phone dinged, we both signed up and now we have appointments. We’ll join the swelling exodus of people from Saint Louis, who have to travel outstate to get a shot. Our Republican governor has been overwhelmingly focusing vaccination in rural areas, even sending 2,000 doses to a small town of 64. Road trip time.
We visited the gardens for the first time in a year. We have gone to the gardens’ Shaw Nature Reserve several times in this last year. It is less populated and wider open and felt safer. As it turns out on a weekday in February even the gardens are pretty empty. A lot had changed at the gardens. First off, the Ridgeway visitor’s center has been torn down. Although relatively new, it was deemed obsolete and unable to handle the expected greater visitor flow. So, the first thing to greet us on our visit was the sound of jackhammers. A new, smaller building is now serving as the garden’s temporary visitor’s center. It looks permanent though. So, I’m unsure what its eventual role will be. The new entrance fronts onto the Linnean House, a Henry Shaw era greenhouse that has been emptied out, except for some construction debris. Likewise, with the adjacent fountains, one of them had been boarded over. The Climatron was open, but we had decided to stay out of the buildings, as best we could. Besides with wearing masks our glasses were already fogging up. The home gardening center was closed due to another construction project, as were many of the smaller trails throughout the gardens, probably because of Covid. Even the fish food dispensers for the koi in the Japanese garden were boarded up. Amazingly, there were a few flowers out, Winter Aconite, Snowdrops and Witch Hazel, lots of Witch Hazel. To think that only a week ago the highs were in single digits.