I have been so busy writing books and taking care of my grandfather that I didn’t visit many parks or write many blog posts last year. Here are a few things I did do:
I discovered YouTube channels DrBecky and Cody’sLab:
Doctor Rebecca Smethurst is an astrophysicist who covers the latest news in cosmology, gets really excited about black holes, and sings.
Cody takes care of bees, chickens, extracts valuable metals from catalytic converters, plays with mercury, turns everything into charcoal, and is currently building a habitat to simulate Martian living.
In the meantime, I posted another article to LovesTampaBay.com, this one written by my mother about her visit to Sawgrass Lake Park.
I also saw a GIGANTIC beetle in the summer. It resembled a Japanese beetle, but was bigger than a June bug. Unfortunately, I got no pictures.
What I did get a picture of was the night sky when it was every color of the alphabet and then some. It is hard to see in the photo, but they are there.
Another day I went to check the temperature and found I was not the only one:
I made chili using leftover Lima beans:
Here are some other pictures:
Patriotism And Treason
Patriotism and treason have no meaning when a country is at war with itself.
Somewhere on the back way connecting South Kingstown and North Kingstown is the entrance to Tripond park. I stopped my car there in late September of 2019. I only found one pond, so I wonder if there is more to the park that has been hidden from me.
The path enters the woods and runs alongside a pond, but it is nearly impossible to see through the thick vegetation. A short way in, the trail splits. I took the right way.
This path winds crazily back and forth across mud and brooks. I have never seen so many wooden footbridges. The vegetation was thick and it was dark under the trees. The only animal I saw was a lone squirrel. Finally, the path terminated on the side of a quiet road without a building in sight.
Retracing my steps, I returned to the split and took the left way. This path took me all the way around the pond back to where I started.
There wasn’t much to see but roots.
Lilacs And Rhubarb
I didn’t get out much in 2019, but that doesn’t mean nothing happened. My grandfather’s rhubarb plant put up flowers this year. First, it put up a very tall stem. Then buds formed. Then they flowered and before long became disk-shaped seeds.
There are also three types of lilacs on the property and a fourth type just over the hedge on the neighbor’s property. To my eyes, they had quite different shades, but the camera doesn’t pick this up well.
What You Know Ain't So
It takes no effort to be smart. To take the default position, the straightforward interpretation, and the obvious conclusion takes no effort at all. Anyone can be smart. It takes a true genius to be a fool. The multiple layers of pretzel logic some people construct in order to argue a point must be exhausting.
I visited Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge in southern Rhode Island in late August 2019 and I think it was the wrong time of year. What flowers were still around were dry and broken. Everything seemed tired and in disrepair. Even the spider webs were full of holes...
The trail south from the parking lot splits in two and I took the western branch first. After passing a field of tall grass, it becomes a regular wooded trail for a while. Everything was overgrown with vines. I even saw a few raspberries. Eventually the trail leads down a narrow peninsula surrounded by opaque, green-grey water. This is where a steady breeze picked up. Looking out across the pond, I could see the ocean just on the other side of the narrow strip of land around it. Beyond this it was so hazy that I could not tell where the ocean met the sky.
At the end of this trail is a deck and telescope. I watched the gulls, red-breasted mergansers, and other birds that frequent the pond. I also took a peek at the human houses among the trees just outside the preserve. Of course, I didn’t care about any of those things. What I really wanted to know was whether I could aim the telescope at the sun and use it to burn a hole in the deck! Alas, it was noontime and I could not point the telescope high enough. Darn!
Returning the way I came, I then took the connector trail over to the east side of the park. This is where there is another deck and telescope. On the way I saw a rabbit:
Past the eastern deck, the trail continues right into the water. I had hoped to explore there, but my way was guarded by a monster:
After this, I returned to the parking lot. On the way I encountered a couple of decks on the border of a pond filled with lily pads. Oddly, one of the decks was not easily accessible. There is no path to it and a fence blocks the way. The other deck is well shaded and home to a very sneaky chipmunk. When I turned around to leave, I saw it scurry away from its spot right behind me.
Finally, I made it back. The entire outing took from 12:00 to 2:30. Only once did any flies bother me and that was near the brook passing under the connector path. Yet, somehow during my brief transit they left me with dozens of bites.
Highlights: On the ground I saw red galls and green galls. I saw an apple tree. I saw a lot of tiny, green dragonflies. Most notable, I saw a black-winged damselfly fly backwards in a jumpy sort of way that reminded me of how scallops swim. Show off!
Best Highlights: On the way back, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts, ate a Boston cream donut, drank a coffee milk, and sat in the lobby watching traffic through the window. This was the best part of the trip.
If I Went To Market
This is a poem I wrote in 2019. I imagine it to the tune of If I Had A Million Dollars by Bare Naked Ladies.
You know I love you and I’d do anything for you and I’d buy you anything and I’d give you everything I have. In fact, I wrote a song about it and I’ll sing it to you right now.
If I went to market (If you went to market)
I would buy you a fat pig (But not a real fat pig; that’s gross)
And if I came home again (And if you came home again)
I’d go jiggity-jig jiggity-jig (Jiggity-jiggity-jig)
And this little piggy went to market (And this little piggy stayed home)
And this little piggy had roast beef (And this little piggy had none)
And this little piggy cried wee-wee-wee-wee-wee (All the way home)
(I thought this was a song about all the stuff you were going to buy me.)
It was, but I forgot. I’ll do better next verse.
If I was named Jack Horner (You’d be teased in high school)
Then I’d eat a Christmas pie (But not a whole pie at once; that’s gross)
And if I found in it a plum (A fat, juicy plum for me?)
I’d say what a good boy am I (What a meanie!)
I once heard a cat play a fiddle (You said you saw a cow jump over the moon)
I once heard a dog laugh (You said you saw a dish run away with a spoon)
I think I finally understand it all now (You’re insane)
(What was in that Christmas pie anyways? Mushrooms?)
No, I think it was just plums and magic reindeer meat.
(That explains it.)
If I was named Peter Piper (You’d still be teased in high school)
I’d pick a peck of pickled peppers – for you (You know I’ve always liked pickled peppers!)
And if I was named Peter Piper (Your initials would be pee-pee)
A peck of pickled peppers is what I’d pick (A peck of pickled peppers is what you’d pick – for me)
And if I was an old woman (Then I’d guess you’d live in a shoe)
And if I slept under a haystack (Then I guess you’d be little boy blue)
And if I sang this song to you on our wedding night (You’d be weird)
Flowers Around Town
He who is tired of cilantro is tired of life.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.