Fools’ parade

_C1_0567.JPGMardi Gras is tomorrow, but Fayetteville’s Parade of Fools was Saturday, including this marvelous lady in red. The Carnival and capoeira troupes that have made past parades colorfully surreal weren’t around, but the Renaissance Faire pirates and dogs of all sizes put on a pretty good show anyway.

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Happy Mardi Gras, everybody.

Dan

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Early spring

_C1_0323.JPGThis is just wrong, y’all.

Trees and other plants from the South to the Great Lakes are coming to life several weeks early. Four days this month have reached record high temperatures, according to the National Weather Service, and we’ve gotten to 80 degrees twice. January had 11 days above 60, while the average is in the 40s. Now, there’s always been wacky weather, and climate scientists are always quick to point out that climate change doesn’t cause any single weather pattern, instead affecting the probability of certain events. But it’s hard not to wonder if the highest carbon dioxide levels in millions of years have something to do with all of this.

On top of that, these particular blossoms belong to a Bradford pear, an ornamental but invasive species that humans brought here from east Asia. Invasive species like these trees and honeysuckles crowd out native plants and steal away their light and nutrients, which can hurt local bugs, birds, mammals, soil, water and us, and they’re hard to get rid of.

Basically we’ve made a mess, even if it looks nice or feels great.

_C1_0222.JPGThat brings me to these rock piles along Lee Creek at Devil’s Den State Park. I know I’ve shown them here at least once before, and they’re a pretty and neat way for dozens or even hundreds of people to connect in the same space. It’s also something we shouldn’t be doing, come to find out. It’s bad for creek beds and the fish and amphibians and bugs living in and under them, and it’s something park rangers around the country are trying to stop.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be the buzzkill during some really fantastic weather. The point is we humans have a way of leaving our marks big and small. Keep an eye on them.

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Thanks for lookin’.

Dan

June in February

_C1_9670.JPGThis past weekend was ridiculously, bizarrely warm. Fayetteville on Saturday reached 81 degrees, 9 above the record and about 30 above normal for a February day. According to the National Weather Service, it’s more typical for late May and early June.

So that made this year’s Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for Arkansas Special Olympics that involves jumping into Beaver Lake in wacky costume, considerably less polar than usual. Not that the participants minded. The umbrella-jellyfish were my favorites.

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_C1_9624.JPGAfter that I headed to Fayetteville’s Wilson and Walker parks, then took a stroll on the Razorback Greenway the next day. A year into my very slow journey down the trail and I’m finally into Rogers.

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_C1_0162.JPGWe’re a bit closer to normal now, which is for the best, I think, though it’s gloomier. Thanks for looking.

Dan