The maple trees in the area have really outdone themselves this spring. For the past two weeks, they’ve been in vibrant bloom and last Thursday, with the rain, it was snowing maple blossoms. Just as in fall, when the weather causes the colorful leaves of each tree to drop directly beneath, resulting in eye-catching circles of red, yellow and orange carpeting the base of each tree, swaths of the sidewalk, street and parked cars were covered in tiny bright yellow flowers. It was something to see.
Feet First | 299
Sunday, 3 July
For reasons I've never quite understood, many communities in the Chicago area have their Fourth of July fireworks displays on the third. The city of Chicago used to as well, but this year they were cancelled as a cost-saving measure. That greatly reduced the crowds down at Montrose Harbor and the lakefront.
We motored the boat north up the lake shore and anchored directly off of the Bahai Temple to watch Wilmette's fireworks display. After a potluck dinner on board, we were treated to a beautiful pre-show sunset that filled the sky with a bright pink light. By 9:30, the lake was filled with anchored boats.
We were so close to the fireworks that on more than one occasion, everything was brightly illuminated around us by the explosions over head, which sounded like cannon fire echoing off the buildings on the shore. Spectacular. As usual, as the last ember from the final firework died out, air horns blasted from all the boats on the lake as they "applauded" the show.
This evening I got home from dinner with friends early enough to sit out on the back deck and enjoy the clouds at dusk. In the south, huge, puffy, mile-high formations traveled from the west toward the lake. Then, as the sun dropped and the magic hour light faded, a massive cloud in the north began to travel across my field of view, also heading east toward Lake Michigan.
This cloud had a light show going on inside it, with flashes of lightning illuminating first one section of the cloud bank and then another. Occasionally, a bolt of lightening could be seen poking out of the cloudy lantern. This light show continued for about ten minutes as the cloud slowly moved from left to right.
I snapped a bunch of photos with the the iPhone camera (using the zoom to close in on the cloud, so the quality is grainy) and despite the shutter lag, I managed to catch a few snaps of the lightning.
This weekend, I spent a good amount of time out in the backyard, enjoying the sunshine, warm temps and hours of evening daylight. Today it was fairly windy and all day long I noticed that the lower level of small puffy clouds were tearing through the sky from west to east, while the upper layer of wispy cloud cover seemed not to move. Other than the bombastic thunderstorm that started our day, the storms forecasted never materialized.
Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is extremely cool. View it as wide as you can.
NaBloPoMo, Day 23
Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of geese hanging out in a particular patch of the lake, just bobbing around in the water close to the shore. It’s odd to see geese in the water around here. Duck and seagulls, yes. Geese, not so much. They tend to loiter on golf courses and around office park ponds. But these geese bob around in Lake Michigan, (right on the border of Evanston and Chicago, just across Sheridan Road from a graveyard, a popular hangout for geese in the Fall) which makes me think these guys are tourists, passing through on their way south.
I sat for a while on the rocks watching this crowd, a combination of many different flocks; they would all change direction in unison, pointing into the wind. Those closer to the shore had to put more effort into it, as they were continually fighting the surf. Every so often, a group of them would raise off the lake together heading in the southern direction and then bank west, up and over into the graveyard, honking all the while. I was hoping to catch a large group in flight; the best I could do was a small crowd passing by.