So this will be the last workday report for at least a little while. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) is canceling public workdays, at this point until May 11. We'll see with time how successful we as a society have been at controlling spread of the virus, and when habitat restoration days can resume.
Thank you, FPCC for making the right call.
Back to McClaughrey; this was a cleanup day behind a tree-thinning project weeks earlier. Thanks to everyone who showed up and helped burn five brush piles worth of cuttings. Your roving correspondent could not make this one due to another commitment but wishes he could have; these are the days you drive home with the muscles you employed telling you you did well.
What Can I Do if I Can't Burn?
It's a poorly kept secret that one of the attractions of our fall/winter sessions is the brush pile burn. Fire fascinates. I used to think it was just the boys, have since learned that the ladies share that affinity for a roaring blaze. The dance of the flames is entrancing and the satisfaction of feeding an ornery tangle of multi-flora rose to a fire and watching it flare up is quite exquisite.
Usually you pace yourself from winter, with its big fires, through the early spring days, and well into April, knowing that soon you'll switch to garlic mustard and other weed removal. This year, BOOM! One day we're burning, next day it's all overdone. Is some form of withdrawal symptom present?
Julie claims my behavior at home has changed, that she's noticed how often I've burned toast. She even states on one occasion I stood in front of the toaster, watching it burn rather than pulling it out. I deny that emphatically.
Will I revert to a distant day of youth, when I slipped away from a backyard birthday party and started a (tiny) leaf fire under our front porch? I remember few things from that far back but have vivid recall of that day. Of my best friend, Larry, reporting me to the adults in the back yard. And my second-best friend, Ray-Ray, leading the chase pack as a terrified little Jan fled north down Forest Avenue.
Julie and I think I may have to get the charcoal grill out early this year. For my own mental health.