14 September 2013

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

There's a park about two towns away from me. I run there pretty much every weekend I'm in town, and when I'm training for anything, it's usually where I do my long runs.

However, after two weeks in Australia, and confounding factors for several weekends on either end of the trip, I haven't been to Lake of the Woods in easily six weeks. It feels like fall just happened there. Sections of the prairie have been mowed down. The birds, which were looking so bright and spiffy during spring and summer when they were eager to impress the ladies, are a little dreary and starting to pack on their winter weight.

Other things are brighter, the milkweed is starting to seed, and there's plants covered with milkweed bugs, from squishy early instars of their life, up to full grown bugs. Some of the pods have split open, and the perfect fish scale patterns of their seeds are showing, or the silk is leaking out of the pods, begging to be touched.

Some stretches of grass were swarmed with grasshoppers. As I ran, I flushed dozens out with every step, flying in all directions and sometimes crashing into me as I went.

It was the most sensory hour of my recent life. Even though I work with things in the nanoscale every day, it felt like a totally different flavor of detail to experience the world in. It was like seeing the park for the first time, but still knowing my way well enough to not worry where I was going.

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