Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska.
Things horticultural that I saw as I sped along rte 80-West: a species of cattail I had not seen before. Common Cattails, Typha latifolia is common throughout the northeast, Slender Cattail, T. angustifolia  is also found but not as common. There is a questiona s to whether T. angustifolia is a native or not. As to those two species, I personally prefer the slender form. The Cattails I saw in the roadside ditches here was a form between the robust and gracile. There is a southern species found here that appears to be this intermediate form. This is probably not so exciting to you but it kept my brain entertained for more than a few miles.
I also was happy to see some large, old Osage Orange, Maclura Porifera, trees in a well established hedgerow. Again, entertainment for a stultifying brain pan.
The third botanical event of note was long stretches of nascent hedgerows planted exclusively with red-twig dogwood, Cornus serica. Hundreds of feet of thickly planted dogwoods making a deep red broken stripe edging the duns, buffs and umbers of the harvested fields. And only on the fields on the north side of the roadway.
Then the highlight of the day's journey. I drove through 2 massive wind farms. All day I had been seeing semis pulling trailers loaded with single, enormous windmill blades. They looked like the remains of  pleisiosaurs from some rediscovered Cretaeceous sea. Then, cresting a hill, I could see a hundred windmills marching across the rolling landscape. They were still distant and their scale somewhat graspable. Getting closer, they appeared more and more uncanny. They seemed to swell and enlarge, their huge blades gracefully sweeping through the air, their clean white surfaces unreal against the stubble and freshly plowed black earth. I began to giggle and then laugh uneasily. I was reminded of the tripods of the War of the Worlds. They marched on and on, fading as they rolled toward the horizon. I was shivery with awe and a mixture of fear and delight. I was an ant passing through the city of our robot overlords. A shrew in a world where Chixchulub never happened, scurrying around the feet of giants.
Then they were receding and I could only glimpse them through the rear view mirror, then they were hidden by the folds of the earth. I drove on through the bright day, trying to regain my sense of proportion.

On a less philosophical note, I stopped for lunch in Des Moines. I also stopped in at West Side Salvage, a salvage depot featured in a series on cable TV. They had many nice things but unfortunately too many of the pieces had been "improved" by the shop with faked antiqued paint, etcetcetc. But I was not in the market for furniture, although I did find some nice lighting fixtures salvaged from an old church, so I was able to pass through wallet unscathed.

I have been making too good time, and am ahead of my schedule. So I will dawdle today and tomorrow head to Denver to reconnect with a High School friend. I will take some time today to make some art perhaps. The long day giving me the opportunity to drag my supplies in from the car.

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