Friday, September 2, 2011

The Path of the Sycamores on ISU Campus


I just received an email from a Facilities person. He was responding to a heartfelt thank you I sent off late last night after the swim meet. (FYI: the Ames High girls' swim team dominated last night!)

He was informing me that there were actually four sycamores saplings planted - two more further down the line closer to Elwood Drive. In my haste to get to the swim meet, my joy! with discovering the first two saplings, and my vigilante navigation through the 5 o'clock traffic around the campus, I totally missed them.

It seems like another bike ride over to Sycamore Row is in order today with photos to follow.


Sycamore Row ReDux!

Late yesterday afternoon I was pedaling like a mad woman trying to make it to my daughter's swim meet at the high school in time to see her first event. I am
without the Mini these days, which is a good temptations from work on the thesis. She has the car from 5:30 AM to 5:30 PM now that school has started and swimming practice is in full swing.

If I want to go somewhere, it is under my own power-either by foot or on bike. The bus is also an option, but I always need the fresh air and exercise. With temps hitting close to 100 yesterday, I was not looking forward to pedaling the 3 miles - uphill- to the high school, but decided it would be faster than taking Cy-Ride. The bus involves several transfers to get from Point A on my side of town to Point F at the high school. Luckily, the fastest route is alongside Sycamore Row, which is also the coolest, literally and figuratively!

I was zooming along the old cinder path (now asphalt) thinking, "I'm late! I'm late" when I noticed a small amount of tree debris strewn across the path. I slowed my bike so I could look around to investigate, but did not notice any areas with new mulch, or evidence of tree removal. It looked like shavings from overhead. I got off the bike to check up into the canopy of one of the sycamores, listening for a woodpecker drilling, checking for a newly sawed-off stump where a damaged limb might have been removed. Nothing was apparent, so I hopped back on my bike and took off. I had just hit maximum speed on the old Schwinn when, out of the corner of my eye, it registered that there was something newly planted a little further down the line.

Imagine my surprise and complete exhilaration when I spotted two new saplings...sycamore saplings with trunks the size of my fist...freshly planted and mulched along the Row. I let out a whoop and a holler! Holy Cow! For all the years I have taken this path, I have noticed this gap in the Row. And especially now since Sycamore Row has been bestowed with the recognition it deserves as one of The Cultural Landscape Foundation's 2010 "Every Tree Tells A Story" landscapes, I have hoped I would see this very thing one day.

These saplings are beautiful. Even though they are just squirts compared to their bigger bros along the Row, they now stand as memorial trees for those who have been lost over the last 100 years. As I snapped these photos, they were waving their big leafy heads. Their peeling, reptilian-colored bark, even at this tender age, is signature sycamore.

I tip my hat to Facilities at Iowa State University. These young trees are in good company here on Sycamore Row.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clouded sulphurs puddling along Squaw Creek.
image source: dlcooper

image source: showmejoeblog @ joecoelho