A Walk in the Park

We walked Forest Park, which is seldom shy of new and unusual sights to see. I tried to fly my drone over the Grand Basin, but the breeze had freshened by then and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor. I quickly reeled it in again, before some unfortunate and likely soggy incident occurred. We heard bagpipes, from up on Art Hill. A woman was playing. She had a good repertoire. We got as far as the zoo’s 1904 birdcage, a bit of the zoo that we can view safely from outside of it. Looking down from the hill that houses the World’s Fair Pavilion, we spied a pair of red garbage trucks. They looked so new and clean that filling them with trash seemed almost like a crime. Heading down to them someone else’s drone overflew us. By the time that we got down to photograph the trucks this drone pilot was being accosted by a park ranger. Apparently, one needs a license to fly a drone in Forest Park. Who knew? We headed back to the car then, which we had parked along De Mun. We stopped first at Barrio and ordered takeout, burgers, fries and shakes. It was a glorious repast. It was also a lot of food that resulted in dueling naps on our two couches.

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.

Red Irish Lord Eye

Red Irish Lord Eye, Jon Gross, 2005

I ordered a grocery delivery last night and I picked the earliest time slot for this morning, seven to eight. Usually, this means more like after nine, but not this time. I got the first text from my shopper just after six. He went right to work, had no problems finding stuff and then soon texted me again that he had already checked out and would be delivering soon. I decided that putting on pants would be a good idea. I alerted Anne to this development, but she just rolled over.

He rang the bell at a quarter to seven. I greeted him at the door and told him that he was early, but then added that was a good thing. He was a big guy, full of exuberance and he replied that he had already bicycled fifteen miles today. I gave a quick double-look and saw his car and not his bike idling at the curb. Plus, he said he had gotten up at 2:30 to do so. I was impressed. When I use to do my nocturnal two-wheeled rambles, I slept in to five and even at this time of the year got the first few flickers of morning light before I was done. His must be a dark and lonely ride, in the quiet stillness of the middle of the night.

I’d read somewhere that back before electrification, when people would go to bed at sundown that they would often sleep twice in the same night. For a few hours in the middle of the night, people would awake to pray, chat with co-sleepers, smoke, read sometimes or “be romantic.” Afterwards, they would fall into a second deep sleep and rest until dawn. In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer wrote of a first and second sleep. People still only slept eight hours, but it was done in two halves. Anyway, his early morning revelry became infectious. Combined with unusually warm weather, it succeeded in getting us out today.

Today’s unrelated photo is an eye of a fish, as opposed to a fish-eye photo. It is a photo of a photo, making it sort of meta, but anyway. It was on display at the Seattle Aquarium. It is a striking closeup, but what really makes it for me is its title, Red-Irish-Lord-Eye. Four words that are not normally seen together, yet seem to promise an interesting story. The true story is a little more prosaic. The Red Irish Lord is a species of fish, native to the north Pacific and this closeup is of one of its eye. The most notable aspect of this fish is its ability to camouflage itself by changing its skin color to match its surroundings. It doesn’t change it to just one color, because that wouldn’t work. It adopts the mottled pattern of whatever part of the seafloor that it is hiding on. Seen by itself it takes on wild and colorful patterns, but against its selected background it blends into it well.