Dancing at the MCA?

We stopped at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago on our way to Rochelle and found this trio dancing on the patio.

Ganz Große Geister

Ganz Große Geister

Ganz Große Geister‘ (Big Spirits XL), by Thomas Schütte
Dimensions: Three figures, each: 16 ft. (4.9 m) high
Medium: Enamel on cast aluminum
Created 2004

I don’t know what the artist had in mind, but they sure seem to be enjoying themselves.

A Deer in the Yard

More neighborhood wildlife — in this case a much-too-frequent visitor to our back yard, or maybe she just lives there.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

This white-tailed doe (Odocoileus virginianus), too unconcerned about people, too accustomed to eating our plants, is usually in the back yard. I’ve explained to her that she can have all the English ivy, and garlic mustard, and stilt grass that she can eat, but still she insists on eating the hostas.

Coneflowers with Bumblebee

Still more neighborhood wildlife — there are crowds flitting about in the garden, but they’ve usually been too quick to catch on camera.

Bumblebee Amongst the Coneflowers

Bumblebee Amongst the Coneflowers

The bumblebees (Bombus, species unknown) seem particularly fond of the purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).

And it went kaBOOM!

Stricken Spruce

Stricken Spruce

We’ve had some thunderstorms lately.

About a month and a half ago I was sitting quietly at my computer while a storm rolled around us. There were the usual flashes with noisy accompaniment and bursts of wind and rain, but nothing unusual. Suddenly the floor next to my chair exploded (KRACK BOOM!!) with a brilliant light. Well, okay, it wasn’t actually the floor next to my chair, but it sure seemed to be. Or maybe something right outside the window. Anyway, much too close for comfort.

I looked in the front yard to see what had been hit, expecting the sweet gum tree to be gone, but all was well there. Then Lisa pointed out the damage to largest of the Norway Spruces at the edge of our property in back of the house. A deep gouge nearly half the length of the tree showed pale lumber color in contrast to the darker brown of the bark around it, and bits of shattered lumber hung in the branches of nearby trees or lay scattered on the ground. There was even tree shrapnel in the front yard. The chunks of wood had no bark on them — the chunks of bark I found had no wood on them and were all burned on the inner side.

Spruce shrapnel on the patio

Spruce shrapnel on the patio

Years ago in Austin we watched a neighbor’s tree burn after a lightning strike — the fire department refused to do anything because of the electrical wires intermingled at the top of the tree. Recently someone on Facebook posted a video of a tree being converted to nothingness by a lightning strike. Our event was nothing like either of those, fortunately — destruction was minimal, there was no fire, and the tree still stands, marked only by the gouge — but it’s as close as I ever want to come.

It’s been nearly two months since the lightning strike. New bark has begun to spread across the gouged trunk, although the needles on some branches on the gouged side of the tree have turned brown. Otherwise all seems well. I think the tree will be okay.