Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring is sulking here in Baltimore, but the children and I managed a mad dash through the drizzle to get to the library, and then an even madder dash through pouring rain to get home. What could be snugger than to have a new pile of books, a tidy(ish) house, and a sleeping baby? I could make an argument for a snowy day in which the children are frolicking with their dad and I am curled up with my knitting and a coffee, whilst soup simmers on the stove. But that is best in, say, January or February. March is here, and a rainy day with books is just about perfect.

Last week, Spring made a slightly premature but most welcome entrance, and we took full advantage. Just over a mile south of our house is Herring Run Park. It's a small park with a playground, a few athletic fields, a little wooded trail, and a stream. No herring (the water is heavily polluted) and the park has had some isolated muggings as well as stray 'pit-bull'* sightings from time to time, but it's a pretty place and usually peaceful. We went several times last week, and finally got around to exploring an abandoned picnic pavilion set a little back in the trees behind the playground. Those two light-colored blotches in the dark window above are holes in the roof, and the structure is surrounded by empty liquor bottles** and a few blankets presumably left by homeless folks, and the insides are thoroughly covered in graffiti, but the children were enchanted. I remember a putatively haunted house in Victory Villa that my friends and I explored frequently until the fire department came and burned it down, so I understand. I suppose most of us take great pleasure in derelict buildings and old, abandoned things. Anyway, here they are, sitting in that very window, playing at being orphans or some such:

On our way out, we saw a very nasty creature indeed:

This was nearly 2" long! The children wanted to capture it and bring it home to identify and observe, but we didn't have and couldn't find a suitable container. I forbade them to pick up any of the empties littering the park and snapped a few pictures instead. I have collected spiders with fat, hairy abdomens, countless ferocious looking caterpillars (with bristles! and brightly-colored markings that clearly indicate danger!) and even centipedes all in the name of scientific exploration. But I drew the line at this creature. The devil himself would assume just such a shape, if the devil were real and into assuming the shape of creepy-crawlies. Which I suppose he would do, wouldn't he?

But I don't want to end my account of our Happy Spring Outing on such a macabre note, so here is a picture of Finch (quite another kind of devil) inspecting our leeks for sand:

Leek Potato soup is a lovely meal for an almost-Spring supper, when the day was beautifully warm but the night turned altogether chilly. With oatmeal cookies for desert!

* 'pit bull' in quotes because lots of folks, including me, call it so if it's aggressive and looks something like a pit bull. Trouble is, lots of dogs look pit-bullish so likely a lot of these aggressive strays are mutts with or without pit-bull in them.

**I don't mind the empty liquor bottles as much considering the prevalence of used needles and condoms in and around our fair city!

**eta: I've tentatively id'ed the Demon-Bug of Herring Run Park as a relatively harmless, but scary-sounding 'blister beetle' of which there are many varieties. Evidently, these fearsome looking creatures secrete a substance that causes blistering on human skin on contact. The blistering is 'uncomfortable, but not painful.' I still say they look awfully damn nefarious, but I'm just glad they're not the sort of bug you'd find say, on a dead body or something.

dinner tonight: good question! possibly fried tilapia and spicy black beans, but also perhaps whatever carry-out I can persuade Justin to fetch!

1 comment:

thenewgirl said...

I love your description of a cosy rainy day! Here in Aus it's the tail-end of summer and all I crave is the sound of rain on my roof.
Also love your descriptive writing style in general, a very engaging read, keep up the good work (hello cliché).