Thoughts on walking

February 2, 2021 – Impression

I walk a little farther each day, mostly in the neighborhood on sidewalks that are edged by lawns on one side and hell-strips on the other … hell-strips being those narrow bands of soil between the sidewalk and the curb. Although calling it soil might be a stretch, as it often appears to be exhausted to the point of being nothing more than dirt.

Nonetheless, plants will grow in even the most challenging conditions and the first signs of spring become more apparent each day. Some dandelions have been in bloom long enough to have already set seed heads. And yesterday I caught my first glimpse of what I think might be ajuga in bloom …

Likewise heralding spring, the birdsong has grown louder and more insistent with each passing day. Everything from the twitters and chirps of the true songbirds to the maniacal racket of the grackles filling the air with sound.

Cold nights alternate with an ever-stronger sun and though I begin my walks with sweatshirt zipped and hands in pockets, by the end I am warm through and through.

And so, a bit of thrift store cloth that reminded me of the neighborhood grid dotted with patches of green, a radiant-stitched dandelion as seen from afar and a tangle-of-purple flower as viewed up close … all shorthand for an early spring day.

In praise of slow

I’m fortunate to have reached the age where going slow is possible. No more 9-5 workdays, with attendant child-raising (as wonderful as that was for us, and now is for our kids) …

P loves accessorizing

J and J
J and J love their rough-and-tumble lives

These days, keeping in step with the slow food and slow cloth movements, I eschew fast-track solutions like Round-up herbicide and weed my driveway by hand, even though it’s over 300 feet in length …

and when I recently set my sights on removing invasive Malta star thistles, I pulled each one up by the roots and then put them on the burn pile rather than composting (in hopes of destroying the seeds) …

Afterward, I picked up the phone and took a picture walk for Grace and others who enjoy that sort of thing. Be forewarned, I took quite a few …

and then downloaded them en-masse into WordPress … where I now discover it is difficult to insert text. So, I’ve inserted captions below each picture instead …

a new baffle, meant to slow the water from future gully-washers as it races down the east trail

heavy cedar mulch (actually Ashe Juniper) covering bare soil from last week’s rain

Prairie Verbena, the seeds washed down the trail from higher ground last year

the Seussian bloom of a Sensitive Briar (or Brier, if you prefer)

our own “Fields of Gold” with thanks to Sting for the tune that wafts through my mind whenever I walk the floodplain in springtime

Bitterweed setting seed as a butterfly flits out of frame to the left

remnants of last week’s rain on the floodplain

Mountain Pinks beginning to make themselves known

tart Agarita berries, ripe for the picking and eating

prickly pear cactus budding and blooming

Stonecrop living up to its name

a Rio Grande turkey track, with my hand for perspective

Texas Storksbill, as large as I’ve ever seen it on the floodplain

another Prickly Pear bloom showing off

a glowing patch of rock lichen

a new-to-me bloom … its name needing to be found

Texas Thistle … and if you’re wondering at how many plants carry the name Texas, all I can say is it’s a big place

a non-live oak oak that has self-seeded … a rare thing, so we’ll hope it continues

the super-abundance of spring rain has everything reaching up to the sky

ripening dewberries beckon to be eaten

Mealy Blue Sage stopped me in my tracks with its intense color

I checked on another new-to-me flower-in-waiting ….

and last, a lighter shade of Mealy Blue, with the normally recumbent Pink Evening Primrose climbing its stems to grab some sunshine

One final thought … as I walked the trails taking pictures, I considered how much I love blogging. True, these pictures could have been posted much more quickly on Instagram, but I get so much more pleasure in telling the story of how they came to be … giving them context … going slow.