We are in Jackson, Wyoming this week enjoying a late autumn vacation in the shadow of the Teton Mountains. We were treated to quite the evening show. No filters used, no tricks, just God’s glory and nature putting on a spectacle. I’ll have more photos in future posts. Blogging with an iPad is possible but painful.
I visited the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa earlier this week. They have a lot of nice exhibits going on but what really struck my eye was a great big cottonwood tree right outside a giant window that was shimmering in the wind so I made a brief video of it and posted it on social media.
A cousin from South Dakota told me that she thought the Lakota Tribe called the cottonwood, the Tree of Talking Leaves. I have googled a lot and have not been able to confirm that that is true but have found a lot of references that the tribe holds the tree sacred and represents a magical time of hope, healing, and transformation.
I have always liked cottonwood trees but never much thought about them until my cousin’s remark and then I thought, you know I have lived all over the west, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and they all have cottonwood trees. I think they may be a symbol of the west, where the west includes the midwest. I just love seeing and hearing their leaves when the wind is blowing.
Late in life, the Cottonwood is now the Talking Leaves Tree to me as well.
I work in downtown Tulsa and most lunch times you can find me roaming downtown, carrying my camera seeing what there is to see. After 27 years of doing that, I still see new stuff. Anway, Tulsa Community College’s downtown campus has a building with a platform overlooking Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa.
I’ve tried to get up there several times and only once has the door been open but I had only had my iphone so I did what I could with what I had. This time I had my new Fujifilm point and shoot so what the heck, I’ll see if I can get up there. Plus the blue chair on the platform gave me a little hope. I know the route pretty well now, take the elevator to the third floor, and go right through the door to the stairwell and guess what!!
And the mostly locked door opened. Yeah for me. There were some people in the classroom to the right but I decided to just ignore them.
So here is the view to the northwest. Holy Family Cathedral.
And straight north up Boston Avenue, the heart of downtown.
And straight south along Boston Avenue.
That is Boston Avenue Church. An art-deco treasure.
Just so you know, I didn’t pass any “No Trespassing”, “Students and Staff Only,” visitors please check in or any other blah blah blah signs during my little venture up to what the school calls the “Ninth Street Overlook.”
Earlier this week I wanted some outside time and wanted to try something different so I decided to do some running/hiking at Oxley Nature Center. Flat, no rocks, no people, perfect.
So I took the back way in which is the closest access to downtown and I knew they had some gates they close on weekends and late at night. When I got there I found this locked gate??? So, okay, I’ll just go with it. So I parked outside the gate and stepped over it and off I went. There were no signs saying I couldn’t.
Just before the trailhead I found this group of wildflowers.
I got to the trail and started down it and noticed that it hadn’t been mowed or much of anything done in the way of maintenance. Oxley holds half the worlds population of ticks and chiggers and so I had doused myself with deet before I left the car so I wasn’t too worried.
The boardwalk had damage and had not been cleared or anything. By now, I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be there but I was also kind of into it pretty far so I just plowed on ahead.
I didn’t get any photos because I wasn’t fast enough but I saw lots of deer running through the woods, a raccoon, and a turtle. Also, lots and lots of small frogs hopping here, there and everywhere.
At the far reach of the North Woods Loop the trail was completely overgrown and I was convinced that the trail was probably closed. See that bench up there? I am a rule follower and if I had known the trail was closed I wouldn’t have gone down it. I guess that I should check the web site. I don’t generally do that before going hiking.
I love being on trails where there is nobody else. In maybe fifteen years of going on this trail I have literally seen maybe a dozen people, probably less. I love it especially on bitterly cold sunny windy cold days. There is no wind at ground level but you can hear the wind howling through the trees above. I know I am weird, but I love that.
It is quite watery their. The area borders Lake Yahola, Bird Creek, and some oxbow lakes formed off Bird Creek. I am glad I was deeted up as this is mosquito heaven.
Toward the end of my outing, the sky reflecting off one of the oxbow lakes.
And another sky photo.
And an aerial view of my outing. Not very long but I enjoyed myself immensely. And I can report that apparently I put enough deet on, I only have two mosquito bites on the back of my neck.
33 years ago I paid about 33 bucks for this cooler at a Target in Oklahoma City to use for a company picnic. My wife and I used it this past weekend for a trip. We packed it full of food and sprinkled a couple bags of ice in it and later in the day when we unpacked our food, the contents were still cold and most of the ice was still frozen. I guess I’ll keep it a few more years.
This is from one of our trips to Orange Beach, Alabama when we had a windy day. It makes for a nice photo. Right now though I am thinking about Hurricane Dorian and the people who suffered from the destructive force it unleashed on the Bahamas.
As I write this, the storm is expected to travel, excruciatingly slowly up the coast of the US and who knows what it will do. I sat through a category I hurricane back in the 1980s. It was Alicia and I lived one hundred miles from the coast so its force was much attenuated by the time it go to me but it was scary enough. Next time I vowed to go to Nebraska. (Since then though I have decided that Oklahoma is far enough.) I have no idea what it would feel like to be on an island just a few feet above the ocean and no safe shelter from the storms.
There is no way to point at any one particular storm and say that it is caused by global warming. I am convinced though that we are experiencing human caused climate change and increased hurricanes are just one of the many results of this. I found a web site, SkepticalScience.com that provides a lot of information presented in such a way that even I can understand it. It also has a guide on common myths and misconceptions presented by climate change skeptics. Check it out, bookmark it and keep it handy. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem.
Last weekend I was in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa. I had never spent much time in the downtown area before and I was surprised to see many attractive older buildings that were well maintained and seemed to have many businesses in them along with apartments on the upper floors. The main street is also part of Route 66 as it winds its way through town.
And all under some intense deep blue skies and big fluffy white clouds.
So I enjoyed my walk up and down downtown Sapulpa. I am convinced that towns, big and small, need a vital and thriving downtown for the city as a whole to be successful.
I have been running races now since 1994 and have probably run hundreds of them. I can’t run very much any longer nor very far and so I am trying to branch out and run races in places and on courses that I haven’t run before. This past weekend I ventured down to the small town of Porter, Oklahoma about a half hour southeast of Tulsa.
I met up with Paula, my sometimes racing partner, and her friend, Larissa a friend of Paula’s who is also pretty new to racing.
As part of the post race refreshment there was peaches!! I thought about having one beforehand but held off.
The race started and off we went including our group of three. We speed walked the race. This is one of the sights we saw. Just in case we missed anything we got to see it again as the race course was a double loop.
And here we are at the finish line. As you can see, we were not the last people to cross.
They didn’t have post race beer, most small town races understandably don’t, but I’ll take fresh off the tree peaches anytime.
And then we went geocaching. My first in Porter and 1686th overall.
And here is that stats. Click on the above and you can get the raw truth about the course and how we ran (walked) it.
So a good time was had by all!
Race rating time
Course – check – nice pavement, good traffic control and people making sure you stayed on the route
Community Involvement, check plus, the festival is a blast.
Refreshments – Lots of iced down water and peaches and lots of water. What else do you want?
T Shirt – Check Shirts Guaranteed for everybody for a fairly late enrollment time. That’s fair! Plus the design is great. I’d show you a photo but I didn’t take a photo before I put it in the laundry, and I don’t like to show my dirty laundry on this site.
I am not a vegetarian by any means but in the summertime I love fresh produce and fruit. The Tulsa suburb of Bixby used to be known for their truck farms and fresh produce. Will guess what the the flat lands with rich soil that make it suitable for farming is also loved by developers for building thousands of houses in nice subdivisions. So the truck and grass farms are rapidly disappearing but some of the produce places live on supplied from areas further away or even Texas, Arkansas, and Georgia.
From a recent visit, some fresh peaches from Porter, Oklahoma.
Local vine ripened tomatoes.
From left to right, fresh green beans, new potatoes, corn on the cob and okra.
Luckily I’m married to a woman who knows what to do with fresh produce. We eat well all sorts of produce all summer long. Green beans and new potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, orkra, corn on the cob (and chowder), various peppers, marinated cucumbers and onion, and zucchini. Sign me up!! Not to mention peaches, plums, blue berries, blackberries, cherries and other fruit.
How about you? Do you have access to fresh fruit and vegetables? Do you like them?