Old Man Sycamore (and me.)
I spent most of yesterday, the fourth of July, feeling absolutely rotten with a bad headache and an upset stomach. I did it to myself, almost mostly sorta on purpose. I knew it was hot, I knew that my physical condition was such that I couldn’t do much in the way of exertion without paying the price, but there was somewhere I wanted to go, and something I wanted to see. And I went.
And what did I want to see? A tree. Seriously. I thought going and seeing a tree was worth having a killer headache for the rest of the day and throwing up and everything. (Okay, actually the throwing up surprised me, I don’t usually get that queasy.)
Last winter while crossing the bridge over a creek that I use as my turn around point for my daily walks, I noticed a sycamore tree. It had a thick brown trunk that went up a ways and then divided into several white trunks, so the shape was unusual and distinctive, and it looked to be a pretty big tree too. I started calling it Old Man Sycamore. But I had only ever seen it from the bridge, never close up.
This is what I could see of Old Man Sycamore in winter.
Even in winter the view wasn’t that great. Too many other trees and shrubs in the way.
Yesterday I went out walking with the kids, first thing in the morning, and I wanted to point Old Man Sycamore out to the kids, but you couldn’t hardly even see him through the leaves. (Which explains why it had taken me ten years to notice him in the first place, I guess. That, and the fact that I usually take my daily walks after the sun goes down.)
So I said… “I’ve always wanted to visit him in person anyway…” And after wibbling a bit about how you’re not supposed to leave the path and all that, and whether or not this was a good idea at all considering my current state of wimplessness, I said. “That’s it. We are going to go see this tree.”
So the kids and I tramped off the bridge and around the guard rails (which extend quite a distance on either side of the bridge), and down the bush covered slope, and through the woods, and across the creek, and finally arrived at this tree that I had wanted to visit.
And my son said, “Heeellooo, Grandpa!”
Let’s just say it is by far the largest tree I’ve seen around here.
I’ll post pictures as soon as I have acquired a way to get them out of my camera. Its USB connector isn’t working.
A hummingbird kept hovering about the tree outside my window today. At first I had the hardest time figuring out what it was. When it was flying, it looked like an impossibly big bug, and when it landed on a branch it looked like an impossibly small bird. I finally realized that such small bird really was a possibility. And sure enough, when it flitted over to an even closer branch, I could see it clearly enough to no longer be in doubt.
The fireflies have been putting on quite a display the last several nights as I took my walk. It’s nice to see them back in their glory — for a couple years after the new drainage system was installed, they were pretty scarce.
And speaking of my nightly walks… the local YMCA is doing a “marathon in a month” challenge to try and get people to walk/run/jog 26 (and change) miles in the next month. I’m used to thinking of myself as being invalidish, and wimpy and stuff, so it was with a bit of amusement that I realized this “challenge” isn’t much of a challenge at all for me. My nightly walk is roughly a mile long, so all I have to do is keep doing what I’ve already been doing and I pass the challenge with ease. It doesn’t really make me any less invalidish and wimpy, but at least it shows that its not because I don’t even try.
Last night my husband and I went for a walk, just at dusk, with all the fireflies twinkling in undergrowth to each side of the path. We didn’t get very far, though. For my husband it was the end of a loooonnng weary day, and when we saw Mr. Skunk emerge from the bushes and go trotting across the path in front of us, he decided that was all the reason he needed to turn back. On the return trip we almost stepped on a bat, who was skimming along only a few inches from the ground, looking for some some yummy bugs.
As zeborahnz (on livejournal) figured out, the reason why the second, earlier walk was darker, was because the moon had not yet risen.
And the reason it was nonetheless easier to see the path, was because the fading light, while dimmer than that of a full bright moon, was more evenly distributed. On the previous night the moon had been shining through the trees, painting splotches of light and shadow slantwise across the trail like a coat of camouflage — fooling the eye, and making it almost impossible to tell what was really there and what wasn’t.
Cute little puzzler for you all:
1) I take my daily walks along a paved bike path that heads out of town in a northwesterly direction.
2) I go sometime between sunset and bedtime.
3) Today I went for my walk nearly two hours earlier than I did last night.
4) Today’s walk was darker.
5) But I could see where I was stepping more clearly.
Can anyone out there figure out the explanation for points 4 & 5?
(I’ll post the answer tomorrow.)
Having mentioned colorful caves in a previous post, I thought I’d let y’all see what I meant.
These photos are not color-modified in any way. This is straight from the digital camera to you. (Click on thumbs to see larger versions.)