Thursday, July 12, 2007

i generally park in the first spot coming around the bend toward the pulliam clocktower, under some huge oaks and angular-diagonal away from the pool attached to the pulliam building, where i swim every day. this spot, being right up against the drive and all, is probably why i got my blue sticker stolen, but i still park there- it gives me an interesting choice. walk up the steps and under the clocktower itself, past the 'so enter' engraving imploring me to be useful to mankind- down the long walk toward the japanese garden. if i go the other way, though, i pass the glass blowers, the welders, and the potter's kiln, a forgotten pine grove that smells good in the little cove made by the pool addition and the walkway away from the clocktower.

one reason i mention it is that this little walk is the best peace & quiet i've got these days; lost most of my swims; and life being what it is i have to wonder when i'll get a few of those moments back. but down by the japanese garden, an interesting split happens. the garden itself, and the coal research building, is very properly cared for by the university grounds crew, with lots of interesting flowers put just so and weeded regularly. but there is also a chain-link fence and the construction grounds, for the renovation of the new library, starts right there at the walkway up past the garden and into my building. and those construction guys chained off way more space than they needed; put some concrete pilings in piles here and there, and then were unable to keep up with the mowing. in short, it's turned into wild space- tall weeds growing up in the cracks of unused sidewalks; grasses gone to seed, coming out from the pilings; foot-high in places where it couldn't be reached by a mower anyway.

so it comes to be occupied by the truly wild elements of the natural world- bugs, snakes, critters- long ago run out of other areas, both on campus and in town, where there is a steady elimination of such wild corners. the weather has been stunning, clear, dry, wonderful, though i have but a few minutes outside- but i have noticed, that patches of true wildflowers, with a kind of muted but glorious splay of color- are really becoming popular all over town. these wild patches are planted intentionally- now seen as pretty, which they are- popular maybe because they give a sense of the true natural beauty an area like this once had, when the tall-grass prairie started here and spread out to the west.

saw a snake once on that pathway, back when they still had barracks, the very same barracks where cesl started out. that snake liked the stone wall that holds up the sculpture garden, i figure. the other day a huge tree had fallen over the sidewalk, blocking the path, but this is building & grounds territory- they had it chainsawed and put in a pile by the end of the day. the brush is still sitting there- waiting for a truck to make it up the path to haul it away. as i walk, i see the wild things, making their tiny adjustments- noticing that, once again, there's another place that people, for all their effort, have trouble controlling.


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