Under the Sycamore Tree

American Sycamore Grove

Sycamore trees have those stark white limbs that on a late fall day, bereft of leaves and with a brilliant blue sky background, look like they are reaching up to heaven. Their roots penetrate deep into the soil, making them difficult to knock over in a storm. I am just religious, superstitious and mystical enough to grant these ghost trees properties of protection, divinity, eternity and strength. Especially while standing beneath a grove of them during a red-flag warning wind storm.

Among all of the vigorous tree swaying, we heard a rather audible deadfall while in the woods. This begs the question, does a tree really make any sound in the woods, when it falls and no one is around to hear it? What? Huh? What did you say? I didn’t say anything. Apparently it does, but it is doesn’t mean anything.

We drove out to Shaw Nature Preserve, checked-in and then drove up to the hilltop pavilion. There were people there, but once we set out, we didn’t see another soul until we returned. We did our walk of usual duration, but very soon Anne’s nature fix meter was pegging into the green. It was eerie at times being alone together in the woods, but this is one of most protected green spaces around. We got lost, found our way again, set off and explored new corners of the map. We made it down to the Merrimac, but then had trouble finding our way back. It was nothing more serious than a few bug bites for me, past mid-November yet! I was warm enough attired in shorts and a t-shirt, but Anne was overdressed to the nines. She wore her facemask continually, but not for virus protection, we never saw anyone, but as sunscreen. We eventually made it back.

On the way out, I had Anne check for traffic jams using her phone. There were none then, but on the way back there was a huge one where I had envisioned one. This is hardly a paranormal feat. The I-44/I-255 interchange is undergoing major construction. Accidents are foreordained. I think that most of the work is done at night, but most of the infrastructure is there all of the time. It was those crazy construction turns that probably led to the accident and the huge resultant backup that I had originally feared, but then only faced going the other way.

Signs of Spring Global Warming

Yesterday, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, signaling that we will have an early spring this year. While winter isn’t supposed to be immediately over then, you wouldn’t have known it with the weather. It was a brilliantly bright day that arrived after so many cloudy ones. The mercury rose to 70 °F and I kept questioning my judgement, for not having put on shorts for the day.

We went to the gardens. The orchid show was on. Always, a mid-winter treat. Its fragrance made Anne’s nose tickle, but it was too nice a day, to tarry long inside. We walked the garden’s grounds. Almost all of the Christmas decorations have been put away and with the beds all turned for winter, there was little in the way of vegetative activity going on. Still, some of the shadows from the leafless trees were interesting and if you looked closely, one could find signs of spring. Witch Hazel blossoms are always an early indicator and seeing them was no surprise, but seeing them being pollinated by honeybees on Groundhog Day is a first. Later, in the Japanese Garden one of the turtles that live in that garden’s large pond, had pulled itself out of hibernation and was sunning itself on a rock. It was the only one we saw and was probably left wondering if it had shown up too early for the Super Bowl party.

After the garden, we headed over to South Grand. Looking for a late lunch, we ended up trying a new place, at least for us, Brazilia. They were serving a buffet, which we ended up partaking of. Our waiter came by, first with a big skewer of beef and then later with skewered pineapple. Each time he would hack the food off the skewer with a machete. We ate too much. Afterwards, we walked up and down the street, window shopping. There were many new shops to see and plenty more new restaurants yet to visit. The city’s investment in this ethnically diverse neighborhood looks to be paying big dividends.

Home again, we settled in for the night. There was no need for dinner or even Super Bowl snacks, after our large late lunch. Anne watched the Super Bowl, while I watched the Outlander series. I’m all caught up now, for this show’s new season debut, later this month. That’s the news, from Saint Louis, Illinois. 😉