Spring has Come! Spring has come! Hallelujah! Spring has come!


The Dude on the Right

me repeat the title of the blog!  Spring has come!  Spring has come! 
Hallelujah!  Spring has come!

Finally, after months and months of snow,
cold, more snow, and a sneaky 60 degree day in January sparking warnings of
"Here comes Global Warming!", it almost looks like Spring has sprung here in
Chicagoland.  Sure, this is a time when, depending on the direction of the
wind, Chicago proper can still find itself almost in winter temperatures, but
out here in the suburbs, and with a southwest wind, all of us were enjoying
temperatures in the 60’s, just like a day in January, with a lot of sun. 
It’s the kind of day that reminds me of college, when a day like this,
especially if it were a weekday, would cause many of us to venture through the
roof hatch of the fraternity house and blow off classes, enjoying a welcome day
of sun, an evening of coolness, and beverages provided by the father of one of
the brothers.  And although this day reminded me of camaraderie on a roof,
I took to enjoying it in other ways, namely being stuck indoors for a couple of
hours watching a just okay movie called

but making a point to enjoy the day with a walk in my
favorite forest preserve,

Springbrook Prairie,
mostly because it’s my closest forest preserve with a
great walking trail, and  later sparking up the Weber for a nice steak. 
The sparking up the Weber of the story will probably wait for my

weekend wrap-up with Stu
on Monday because of a Home Depot experience, but
my walk made me wonder:

Why are they setting the Springbrook Prairie on fire,
and why didn’t I bring my real camera gear?

I am wont to do sometimes, especially when the weather warms up, I like to pop
in the headphones, fire up my iPod (which, I’m sorry, doesn’t seem to have
"random" but seems to have its own musical preference for the day because I only
own one Smashing Pumpkins CD, "Siamese Dream," and with 13 songs it is about
.205% of the music on my iPod, but Mr iPod decided it was in a "Smashing
Pumpkins" mood, playing 3 songs from the CD in one hour, and not even "Disarm"
which is actually why I bought the CD in the first place, and I’m sorry, I
digress, back to fire).  So I start-up my iPod, start my walk, and see
smoke in the air.  Yup, it is time for the prairie folks to do controlled
burns, and as I am continuing my walk I wonder why.  I mean, come on, this
prairie preserve is pretty big, yet for some reason the forest preserve powers
that be seem to burn part of it every year?  My desire for finding out why
will have to come later, when I get home, but as I’m walking, in the distance is
a pack, a group, oh hell, a bunch of deer.  They seem confused, they are
grouped outside of the fire zone, seeming to look at each other saying "What the
hell is going on?" 
then the moment of wishing I had my camera gear came because even though I tried
to snap a picture of the deer with my camera phone it came out like crap, so it
isn’t here.  The deer were jumping, scrambling, and looking for a place to
get away from the smoke and fire, and with my real camera, well, I might have
had a nice shot.  Instead I’ve got these few photos of the work the forest
preserve is doing to make a meandering creek, how the prairie is still in "We’re
just getting over the winter" mode, and lots of smoke over the prairie, complete
with the edge of my finger.

Missing a great picture of the frolicking deer
aside, it was great to finally get back to the forest preserve this year because
as much as movies are sometimes an escape from reality, there are portions of
the trail when you can look and not see civilization, except, of course, today,
when they were setting it on fire.

I did do some looking as to why they do
these controlled burns, and as much as a

Minneapolis site
seems to have the best explanation,

the site for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
, which owns the
Springbrook Prairie, does state “The District uses prescription burns, in part,
to remove invasive, nonnative vegetation. This improves conditions for native
species, which possess a natural advantage, having evolved to coexist with
fire.”  Now I just wonder how I can evolve to coexist with fire. 
Wouldn’t that be cool?

Sometimes I wish God had made a place as perfect as
Chicago on a high 60/low 70 degree day.  Oh wait, I think he did, it’s
called San Diego (Big Cooter, it might be time to plan, for us, you’re 5th year
wedding anniversary party), but you know what, at least our prairie fires are
controlled, usually.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!