In our semi-prairie environment, only one topographical feature is a guarantor of tree-ish terrain. That's the existence of a creek.
Now a lot of neighborhoods are old enough that lawn-watered trees have sprung up in profusion, so we're not at all like the "pure plains" of Midland in West Texas (a place so parched that even GW Bush seemed like a good candidate). But in the countryside, mainly cedars break the prairies up, except near creek.
The designers of Spring Creek Trail had a great idea. They ran the trail over and around the Spring Creek, so that one would be in fairly deep woods during most of the trail. Endless bridges cross over the little creek, which has been concreted and controlled and manhandled, but still has a sort of natural charm.
It's not one of those Tammany Hall concrete creeks, like an LA River, but instead a real creek with a lot of human intervention.
We saw a gorgeous woodpecker flying over the creek. We saw a giant Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flying amidst the top of the trees. My wife and I both remembered childhood memories of evenings with giant green luna moths, almost fluorescent in their color. When I played baseball in grade school, they were always at play in the "night lights" on late nights.
At my town's baseball field, they served hot dogs with sharp mustard and chili for which one would gladly trade a Brooks Robinson rookie card, but in fact only had to trade a dollar. The hot dogs came in little paper wraps, wrapped by the moms and dads who volunteered to work the stands. When one's own team was not playing, life was not really about watching baseball. Life was about childhandling chili dogs, and watching luna moths, silhouetted against the moon, flying so gracefully, circling the lights.
We had such a nice walk, pausing to say high to a Labrador puppy learning how to walk on leash. We saw mosquito fish, tiny, minnow-sized livebearers noted for their fondness for mosquito larvae.
In the slightly deeper portion of the water, small green sunfish swam. The creek was inches deep in most places, but the sides of the creek rose for thirty feet or so. This can be flash flood area in the spring and fall rains. We saw the red clay and slate and shale which makes this soil such a challenge to garden in general, although it does grow wheat and alfalfa well. The problem is that not many homeowners want a crop of wheat in the front yard.
The native plants I got in April at the Heard Natural Science Museum's native plant sale are in love with our yard. The Mexican heather is constantly in bloom. The dill is now a huge bush. The
mint-y wild trailing plant has trailed into the front yard; I must lift it out of the way when I mow now. Although we have some "traditional flowers", none of them look as good as the native bushes we put in. The only exception is the Tropicana Rose. That rose is special, though--it has an extra meaning for us. My wife's mother's favorite plant was her Tropicana rose. She left this life two years ago, just as we were moving to Texas. My wife and one of her sisters each planted their own Tropicana Rose. Both have bloomed and thrived. Ours is alive with possibilities every week; blooms seem to replace those which live out their time with regularity. I am thankful for small things, like memory bushes that bloom.
I am having a hard time finding the library book about making something out of junk. I would think this would be quick to surface, but it's not turning up. I have work to do at home, and nervousness stuff to finish and send out. I am feeling so good, though. After our hike, we went to Tippin's, a glorified coffee shop and pie house which brings to my wife all sorts of memories of growing up in Kansas City. Kansas City is such a gracious town,
full of parks and fountains and art and good barbecue. It's the sort of place where one goes to Tippin's or First Watch, and has breakfast for lunch on a quiet Sunday. Today, she had a sandwich, and I had a chicken noodle soup, and we felt like people who can rest, and relax, and just enjoy.
Because a handful of folks on my friends' list are studying to be academics,
I've been pondering the "what if" question a bit lately. If I had not been a lawyer, what would I have been? Certainly not a Wichita lineman, though it makes a nice topic line for a post. I usually say "optometrist", on the theory that it's not that hard a study, people call you doctor, and you get to go home at 6. I sometimes say "English professor", but my friend tells me that all his friends who became English academics have now, some 15 years plus later, left the field. Before LJ, I might have said "librarian", but my librarian friends have convinced me it has challenges I had not hitherto appreciated. I could imagine "high school teacher", but I am not sure I would be a "cool eccentric nervous teacher" but might only be a "weird, nervous teacher". I'm in such a quandary. Maybe I'll have to be a lawyer until I'm 60. Wow! 17 more years of argumentative phone calls and drafting pleadings. Hmmmm.......