Arboretum walk

Two of my close friends from Chicago have birthdays today. Whee! Did I send cards? No. Argh. I resorted to email. I hope they know I love them. You know who you are.

Yesterday Tom and I went for a long walk in the arboretum that is just north of where we live. We explored some wooded areas and the Winter Garden, which is not doing much yet as it still thinks it’s fall. Then we walked along a tiny stream and stood on a little bridge looking down at it. The grass is extremely green, but the trees and other growth in this unkempt area are a tangle of ragged fallen leaves and gray branches.

We climbed up onto the Highway 520 unfinished “ramp to nowhere,” which young and brave people use as a diving platform in summer. The ramp curves from this remote part of the arboretum (it’s more like a plain grassy park in this area, along the edge of the lake) way up and over all lanes of 520, and curves down as if to join the westbound lanes. The transportation department seems to have stored a bunch of big trucks up there, the ones with the giant yellow bumpers for crazed motorists to plow into at eighty miles per hour during highway maintenance operations. We had a good view of Husky Stadium from up there, as well as the highway, the lake, and the marshy shores at the north and south sides of this natural inlet.

Lots of arctic seabirds winter around here and it’s fun to see them on the lake in winter. Our favorites are these black-and-white ones that are so clean and bright looking that they could almost be made of vinyl. The best I can tell from the bird book is that they may be the horned grebe. There are also coots, cormorants, bufflehead ducks, geese of course, and other ducks and divers I can’t identify.

Right now it’s 4:15 and almost completely dark out. The sun is so far away to the south that when it’s cloudy out, it seems to be truly daylight only for a few hours.

I’ll start my temporary job on Thursday, and I’m hoping by then to have my Movable Type version of Northwest Notes up and running. Updates may be only twice a week until I get that going, as it is consuming most of my computer time, if I don’t get it done by Thursday.