Saturday, November 22, 2014

In Which I Praise The Drab Late Fall Beauty

Seeds near the Cedar River Trail. And a bike, too.

We've had more than a week of winter here in Iowa, even though it’s only fall.

Fall decided to show its face again today. It warmed up, and after an icy morning, it became a damp day. But at midday, it cleared off a bit, and around 2, my wife returned from Target with all her Thanksgiving groceries and said, “why don’t you go for a bike ride?”

One might assume that putting away the holiday feast was just easier without a husband in attendance. I decided to take the hint and I went.

First, I lubed my chain—it was, after all, a damp day. Then I headed over to the Cedar River Trail and went south through downtown.

Cedar Lake has lots of ice and gulls, but no eagles yet. Not that I was expecting any—I’m sure there is too much open water still north of us, and it will be some weeks before the eagles arrive.

Down by the river, however, there were plenty of geese standing on ice or sandbars or in the shallow water. Despite almost all of the snow melting in the past 24 hours, the river and streams are low—not that much water content in a bit of snow, I suppose.

And on C Avenue, a red-tail hawk was guarding a sign by Rockwell Collins.

It remained a grey day, and I’ll enjoy the spring sunshine and green when it returns in a few months. But the drab, brown November world still has beauty. I like being able to see the river more, for instance—down on the south short, where there are woods between the trail and the river, it’s not easy to spot it well when the trees have their full foliage. They stand naked now, and one can see the land and the river much more clearly.

And even if we don’t have the vibrant greens or pretty flowers of spring and summer, seeds and berries and dried grass have a more subdued attractiveness about them.

So I paused now and then to snap a few photos. I didn't go much more than a mile past Sokol Park after I crossed the river—it was starting to mist and I decided to turn back. Still, I got in a 2-hour ride. Given the weather forecast for this week—rain and then snow—it may be a while before I ride again.

But I am glad that I rode today. I wasn't totally alone, as a few hardy bikers and joggers were out on the mostly empty trail.

And when I got home, my son had arrived from Ames, and my wife had returned from a walk. We went out to eat at a Mexican Restaurant that opened recently in our neighborhood—so I’m sure it was a good thing I got some exercise before that feast!

Final images near Cedar Lake--the lake at top, and some milkweed pods bottom two images. Hope these sprout and support some Monarch  Butterfly caterpillars next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment