Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Other parts of the country might have had large blasts of snow so far this month, but here in northern Illinois we've only had snow showers. Still, they've added up, since temps never rose above freezing between New Year's Eve and MLK Day. So what to do on a long winter weekend afternoon? Take a walk in the Busse Woods Forest Preserve. With a camera.

Black-and-white seemed fitting for that neck of the woods. But through the magic of digital photography, it's easy enough to make the switch from B&W to color. There isn't a lot of color in a January forest preserve landscape, but there are subtle browns in the hibernating tall grass.

For some reason, the rest of my family declined to go with me. It's cold, of course, but once you've been walking for 10 minutes or so, it doesn't seem so bad, especially on a windless day like Saturday. The best thing about walking on the "bicycle path" was that there were no bicycles, like there would be any other time of the year.

I'm all for riding bicycles on forest preserve paths, but as a pedestrian it puts you on edge sometimes when, during a peaceful stroll among the leafy trees, a bike zooms within inches of you without so much as a bell-ring warning. Thus the unstated but wise rule for pedestrians on bike paths (and on sidewalks in Japan): no sudden lateral moves.

At two places the path crosses Higgins Road, a busy, four-lane thoroughfare that cuts the forest preserve roughly in half. The western crossing is at street level, but the eastern one is a steel bridge that arches up and over the road.

I had it all to myself.

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