The spider and the hawk ~

With the exception of various insects and one very loud flock of Canada geese passing overhead, that’s all I saw today at the Frank State Wildlife Area, a bit southeast of Fort Collins on the Cache la Poudre River trail. And I don’t have a photo of either. The spider was a spindly thing the color of a liver spot; the hawk was far away. (I actually saw the spider a second time, on the way back. It had moved just slightly on the trail. Perhaps it wasn’t feeling well.)

Concrete is not what I think of as a trail, but this little section drew a lot of cyclists and walkers today, when the temperature was in the upper seventies. My dogs and I walked for about an hour. We didn’t cover much territory—less than 2 miles—but we were all thirsty and hot long before we got back to the car.

Frank S.W.A. is made up of recently reclaimed gravel pits, and parts of the area have been closed as recently as late 2015 for mining. I could hear traffic noise from a nearby two-lane highway the whole way—except for moments when the wind picked up. I’m still looking for a place to go out here on the plains near Loveland that doesn’t feature lots of traffic noise, or a view of houses. It was a nice walk, though, and will be much nicer when the trees leaf out. These are iPhone photos, rendered a bit shakier than usual due to the wind.

Mri Pilar, Mosaic Detail no. 1 ~


Artist Mri Pilar created the extensive mosaics that cover the restroom walls at Bowl Plaza in the tiny town of Lucas, Kansas. Bowl refers to, yes, a toilet bowl. (There’s a ceramic bowl outside with various strange ceramic objects being “flushed,” as well as a giant cement roll of toilet paper on the lawn, as well as another mosaic by Pilar and mosaics by community members.) It all sounds, and is, very strange and wonderful. Bowl Plaza is just down the street from the Lucas Grassroots Art Museum, which features outsider art and which I wrote about last year. It’s also a few blocks from the “Garden of Eden,” a very large, classic assemblage of Bible-related outsider art created on and around a home in Lucas.

Bowl Plaza was closed last year for repairs, so when I drove through Kansas a few weeks ago I had to make a return trip. I haven’t yet seen Pilar’s own “Garden of Isis” in Lucas, so I need to return a third time. Her website (above) shows Bowl Plaza in progress. Here’s a detail from one of Pilar’s mosaics in the women’s restroom at Bowl Plaza. iPhone photograph.

Ten spectacles ~


What you see is what you get. iPhone photograph taken at the Fick Fossil Museum (Oakley, Kansas), which has as many local-history exhibits as it does fossil exhibits. I like to imagine that the townsfolk call it the Frickin’ Fick, but probably not.