stealing away on a sunny day

Saturday I had a busy day – morning writing class, afternoon errands and an evening shift at Qdoba. I slept in this morning and woke up to another gorgeous day. Maybe because I tend to delay waking until late morning, but it always seems Sundays start out sunny and glorious. Today was obviously no exception.

A few days ago I saw a blurb in the Journal Sentinel about a jog of the Oak Leaf Trail ideal for a brisk hike and some fall-color viewing. I decided to check it out today and ended up on a lovely five-mile head clearer in Franklin.

I took my camera and a book and spent half the walk with no iPod. I took pictures of wildflowers in front of dried cornfields and grasshoppers paralyzed on the blacktop trai.

A concrete tunnel under a street bridge reminded me of being six or seven, when I would have crawled across the rocks to the water’s edge and searched for crawfish in the Elm Grove creek.

Exiting a woodsy area opening into a field, I heard the distinct sounds of red-wing blackbirds. I thought of high school Advanced Biology, when my friends and I teased our teacher for his seeming obsession with native prairie grasses and bird calls.

Today I appreciated recognizing the birds and realized that prairies and marshes and meadows are beautiful. I wish there were more chances to have an entire horizon of natural landscape before the eye. There were times during my walk that there was nothing human in view besides the trail I was walking on, and other times when the line of cookie cutter tan, grey or baby-blue houses broke up the pristine fall scene.

My relaxing day ended after a good stretch and a cup of Stone Creek Coffee. I have to admit, there are some perks to being single again, sort of.


5 Responses to stealing away on a sunny day

  1. Jack says:


    The Oak Leaf trail is great for bike riding also. It goes all around the city in a near oval for a total of about 80 miles. I especially like the portion near South Milwaukee, Cudahy, and further north, where you ride on sequestered paved paths along the lake and through various parks for about 10 miles straight. There’s a new section being built, called the Henry Aaron trail, which will bisect the oval from the western part in Wauwatosa all the way to the lake. It ends somewhere near Miller Park right now.

    You might remember when I took you and Adam for a 25 mile or so ride on a portion of the trail, leaving from our house and ending up near the Hales Corners MacDonalds before returning.

  2. Adrianne says:

    Advanced Bio. Good times. I can’t help but think of that class every time I see one of those darn red-winged blackbirds. I was very proud of myself, though, when I was able to have an intelligent conversation recently with a biologist friend about burning prarie grasses. He was way more pumped about it than I was, but I understood what he was saying.

  3. laurafern says:

    Dad – I have biked a bit on the Oak Leaf this late summer/fall and plan to do more. I got a free map at Wheel & Sprocket when I bought my new bike. Interesting about a part having a jog near Miller Park – I will have to look into that.

    Adrianne – For better or worse, I don’t think Darrel Hagman will ever completely leave us as long as we have prairies and birds. =)

  4. Braden says:

    You know, native prairie grasses are no laughing matter. The deep root structure of our prairie grasses is one of the primary reasons that the Wisconsin area is so fertile for farmland, despite its rock-strewn glaciation. In fact, Wisconsin farmers have been mining the prairie soil for the past century and a half without any regard for the benefit that they gained from the native grasses that they so callously call “weeds.” We should take back the farmlands by secretly spreading the seeds of prairie grasses throughout the farmlands of Southern Wisconsin!

    OK, just kidding… : ) I just couldn’t resist the comment about the high-school biology teacher. Ahh… in another life I could really see myself as an embarrasing high school biology teacher (with a long beard and wearing wool).

    By the way, for a good science-oriented read you should check out Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s been out for awhile (and maybe you already read it), but I managed to get through it recently despite my work-related readings. Really interesting and surprisingly funny for a history of science.

  5. laurafern says:

    LOL – This is so something I would have expected of you.

    Believe it or not, I think Braden, you were far more instrumental in getting me to appreciate the prairie and its grasses than Darrel Hagman ever was.

    I can also envision you teaching lethargic high-school kids about the wonders of the native prairie – definitely with a scraggly red beard and alternating flannel and rough wool sweaters.

    That sounds like a good book – i think I’ve seen it in the stores, but didn’t know how dry it would be. Thanks for the recomendation.


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