Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Walking to Work, Some Notes from a Morning Walk on the Mississippi

Approximately once a week I walk part way to work, mostly along the Mississippi River. I am reluctant to be more specific about my route, situation, and schedule as I'd rather not alert the geese any more than is necessary. The geese make me a little nervous when they group up on the path and though it might seem over-cautious to you, I wouldn't put anything past these surprisingly large birds, including their monitoring of my blog. Although, if they are monitoring my blog, well, I can really use the readers, regardless of motives, so... Hi geese, thanks for coming, check back here often for updates on my river walking schedule!

Anyway, as I walk along the river, naturally, like anyone, my head fills with possible blog posts and indeed everything I see becomes something to blog about. In that spirit, and with a need to discharge all this excess blogging energy, I present to you "Some Notes from a Morning Walk on the Mississippi" which I would almost certainly expand into a book if either a publisher asked or I had more than 5 remarkably skimpy ideas of material scrawled briefly and illegibly in a notebook.

1. How to spot a bald eagle along the Mississippi River.

Walk with your head down composing blog posts until you see a small group of people gathered at the edge of the path looking up into the trees. Look where they're looking and pointing their large telephoto lens cameras. It is always a bald eagle.

2. Graffiti Update.
If you go here you can see my only slightly tongue and cheek review of the "Hangman" graffiti piece on the river. That artwork is now completely painted over, which is okay because though it was clever, it was also, to be blunt, ugly. Fortunately there's loads of pretty graffiti pieces now located mainly under the Franklin Ave. and Hwy. 94 bridges, including what I think is possibly a new piece, the inter-related "World" (?, hard to see) and "Naive". Near these complex and coloristically interesting pieces (I love that sort of ocher in "Naive" with its rich olive green overlay) are a couple of small simple pieces called "Statistically gaining knowledge" which presents both readable and unreadable elegant calligraphy line work.

3. A Rule for Mixed Sports Exercising on the River.

Based on my observation I strongly advise against going jogging with someone who is biking, unless you are super fit.

4. Major River Road construction project process.

From Franklin Avenue, past the gang of geese (Hi geese!), all the way to where I turn off toward Ted Mann Concert Hall, they are pulverizing the road down to its dirt bed. I would think I would hate this for being noisy and interruptive, but, no! It turns out I am very enthusiastic about this project. For one thing it means there are no cars whizzing by on River Road, and while River Road is not normally trafficy there are always cars whizzing by and I wish they'd cut it out, which, temporarily, they have. For another thing, the whole project seems to tap into my inner, primal 5 year old, and I find all the machine work very compelling, like dinosaurs and firemen. A big, super powerful, munching machine drives slowly, slowly along, steadily eating up a 5 to 10 foot wide swath of road and then spitting it out way at the top into a big dump truck that drives along in time by the muncher's side. It doesn't take very long to fill a whole dump truck so they have 10 or more of them going in a giant loop. The dump truck fills, drives forward and away, goes to dump somewhere, and comes back from the rear to get in line again. It just works for me.

5. An amateur birder's list of birds that I mostly don't know the name of but definitely saw.

a. Bald Eagle (yes, yes, follow the telephoto lens!)
b. Geese (Hi geese!)
c. Little yellow headed birds with more yellow at the top of their tail you can only see when they open their wings.
d. A woodpecker that I thought was a duck at first when it came in to land on the side of a tree. It made a lot more sense when I realized it was a woodpecker since ducks rarely hang out on the sides of trees.
e. A huge, gigantic owl! (not really, I just thought this might make the geese a bit more, I don't know, cautious, or humble). 

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