Monday, March 26, 2012

Digging out From the Flood

Landing Park, a park located alongside the Missouri River, has recently re-opened. It closed in late June of last year because of the approaching flood water. The river eventually covered the entire park and remained above flood stage for several months. Once the water receded, the city had to consult with the Army Corps of Engineers to determine what to do with the silt left behind, some of which is visible in these pictures. It will take several more months before the city gets the grass to come back alongside the pathway and before the remaining park benches are re-installed.

This park, before it flooded and remained closed for about nine months, was one of my favorite places to walk. If the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh had emigrated here as a young man, say, after the publication of The Great Hunger, his statue would be located alongside the Missouri River instead of at the Grand Canal in Dublin. I don't know which place is more picturesque, only having spent one damp evening in Dublin when I was a teenager.

Although not likely, if I were to open a restaurant, I think I would place it alongside the Missouri River. It would need to be located on a bluff high enough to avoid any flood water, of course. That's assuming that people would be interested in eating the food that I prepare most often--rice concoction, aka broccoli bake, mild chili, barbeque ribs baked in the oven, and Irish stew. My wife imagines the creation of a glass walkway that would make it possible to walk out over the river. Sitting out on the desk on a summer evening, after the cicadas had stopped their nightly refrain, and while hearing the water driven south by the current, would be a great way to relax with friends. The idea is far more pleasant than actually creating the experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Magnolia Blossoms_2012

My annual collection of magnolia blossoms appears below. Our warm weather, and the relative absence of winter this year, has accelerated the blossoming of the flowering trees in this area--magnolias and Bradford pears. Out of the two hundred some pictures that I took on Wednesday, I selected these seven for my blog. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Outing in Springlike Temperatures

Thanks to a college visit that my kid had scheduled for Tuesday, I managed to get away from my computer for a good part of the day. He is attempting to decide which of two schools most interests him and has largely been basing his decision on expense. Whether he gets the scholarship money he has applied for will decide where he goes to advance his education. He knows enough not to take out student loans to finance his education.

He is considering one school that his mom and dad graduated from, the same school where they met. Today, we visited one of the departments that interests him and talked to one of the professors before we gave him a brief tour of the campus. Some of the students he talked to proved to be friendly and encouraging.

As we were leaving the campus, I got a quick look at one of the professors that I had worked with while earning my Master's degree. Twenty-three years later, he continues to teach even though he is now seventy. He had just left the building that houses his office when I got a quick glance from the car and recognized him immediately. I probably should have stopped and talked to him. We haven't talked to each other in twelve years; the last time was when I was on campus for a lecture and a reading one Saturday afternoon. Not much in my life has changed since then.

On the way home, we stopped in Wamego for a short visit. My wife wanted to see the windmill located in one of the city’s parks. It had been built nearby and was later moved to its current location. Those few minutes marked a pleasant way to celebrate getting outside in what had been an eighty degree day.