Black-Eyed Susan Looks Back

Photo / graphic by Roman.

Digitized film photo from the Fall of 2000. It was a somewhat frustrating photo for me. On one hand, I like the profusion of flora and color and decay, suggesting the various expressions of life and there is (to me, at least) a suggestion of a face… so genuinely a “black-eyed Susan” picture. But that same profusion makes it difficult to take in, especially as my minimally intelligent film camera chose a plane on which to focus giving the rest a slight blur. Translating it through a scanner did not improve matters. Can this picture be improved? Or more to the point, was it within my photoshopping skills to do it? Well, I do have this tagged “experimental” as a way of warning folks.

October Bouquet

Here are some of the last blooms of the year. It’s natural enough to be sentimental about them. After all, these are intimately involved in the plants’ reproduction, and these final flowers are really pushing the envelope, reaching into the futile territory where death is the only prospect. All I’ve got to say is that bees and humans ought to be bloody well grateful for these final wagers by some plants.

And speaking of final wagers, this being posted on November 11, let’s have a sentimental moment of silence for all those killed and otherwise maimed by all our stupid wars. Take exception to that judgement if you wish, but waiting for the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to cease fire (World War I) strikes me as manslaughter if not straight-up murder, and is it really so atypical of how wars finally end?

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

Pilgrimage in Landscape

Every Fall for the past several years, I’ve made it a point to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden to take in the colors of Fall. Without a car and so out of practice driving that rental would be unwise, I take public transit. The PACE Bus Route 213 takes me directly there from the Howard CTA station, not frequently but every half hour during the work week. While the Garden charges for parking, admission is free for pedestrians though they close that gate at sundown.

This was a particularly good year to visit as it was an especially colorful Fall in Chicago. The day I chose looks to have been the last warm day this season though Midwestern weather delights in its surprises. Such an autumnal day makes crowds inevitable, but this year, somehow, my favorite places were nearly abandoned. It was a memorably wonderful visit, a sensory overload, a long long walk for a geezer.

I shot about 200 photos though, as usual, nearly half were not worth the wee space they occupied in storage. But here are a few on the theme of landscape.

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I was almost alone on the prairie. Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Photo by Roman.

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Prairie wetland, a bit on the dry side considering the rain lately. Photo by Roman.

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The path to another of my preferred places: the Council Ring. Not too many visit there and this year I had it to myself for a welcome rest. Photo by Roman.

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As seen by Little People. Photo by Roman.

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Not exactly a landscape, unless you’re a Little People. Photo by Roman.

Fall Prairie

Photo by Roman, taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Having been an urban dweller all my life, I hadn’t realized that the prairie also turns color in the Fall. This was a delight to discover, and so the Chicago Botanic Garden’s restored prairie is a must see each time I visit.

It was a visit to Matthiessen State Park in Illinois one Fall that taught me the colors of the prairie. I was acquainted with the park by its older name, Deer Park, as it had been a regular summer visit during my childhood. At that time, it was mostly a smaller version of Starved Rock State Park, which it is very near though on a different river: all grotto, ravine and forest. Sometime later, it was expanded to include a neighboring farm that was restored to prairie. I first visited the prairie one Fall in the late 1970s with a girl friend and her near-kindergarten aged son.

Her son was none too keen on hiking, and when he became tired, like most kids his age, he began to lose control. We responded by telling him that whenever he needed to rest, we’d stop. He was as fascinated by this newly discovered power as I was by the prairie in all its Fall colors. We ended up hiking a long distance. It was win-win as he got a ride on my shoulders part of the way back.

Unfortunately, the relationship between his Mom and I did not default to friendship at the end, so my knowledge of their stories ends decades ago. I like to think they’ve done well, but I’m content with the memory and enriched by the colors of a prairie Fall.