Trees and cicadas. Tree-cadas.

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Washington is genuinely sultry these days, but as recently as a week ago we had lovely sunny non-humid days where riding around on a bike didn’t feel like being trapped inside a Snuffleupagous. (For those of you unfamiliar with the beast in question, think Revenant where DiCaprio is sleeping inside the horse carcass; or, just check this handy guide:

Speaking of Snuffleupagous, doesn’t this tree have the same soft, shaggy look?

Oooh, trees! Dramatic Foreshadowing

About ten days ago I was swooping lazily over the hilly dales (or the daley hills) of the National Arboretum, which is gorgeous on a bad day and overwhelmingly beautiful on a good one. There are areas full of Asian trees and plants; dogwoods; azaleas; student gardeners; and a dozen other speciality areas. It’s acres and acres of relaxation – right off of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road. If you’re a Washingtonian, you know that is about as incongruous as a fish on a bicycle.

I made a video in the conifer section. It’s arguably the least appealing area to make a video in, given that Route 1 is covered with vehicles day and night, zooming toward Baltimore or Greenbelt or wherever, and that’s just over the fence from these stately trees. But I love them so much. It is a little homesick-making, actually, to see these particular trees – I feel a bit protective of them, like they’re under pine beetle threat and I’m here to save them.

The Colorado Blue Spruce is a big coney fella, tinged blue to be sure. One of the babies is here on the left, being held up by a thin fence till it’s strong enough to stand tall on its on. Next to it, the New Mexico State Tree which is a piñon pine. I’ve seen about a billion of those, traipsing around NM.

The Mountain West is definitely a conifer heaven, but it is not known for its fall weather leafing spectacle. Our evergreens are massive, needled giants that don’t bother changing colors with the seasons. We do have our lovely quaking aspens, of course, and it is genuinely breathtaking to see a hillside of flipping gold coins – it’s like being at a casino when everybody’s winning. But our conifers… (“coniferous,” meaning We Have Lots of Cones.) They’re rather more placid in regards to time. September, you say? So what, they answer. I’m already dressed and I’m not changing now.

Bonus material

So here, my friends, is a new effort for me, making a video from clips from my bike ride in the Arboretum. There is a special BONUS: If you pay attention, you will see a sassy and possibly intoxicated cicada boinging off of various obstacles. S/he was probably looking for a mate and got a leeeeeeetle out of hand with the holiday punch.

Please to enjoy my videographic amateurism (or my amateur videography):

Well that was fun, right? I don’t know what possessed me to do “slo-mo” in that moment, but it happened to be just when Sister Cicada went lumbering by.

It’s important to get outside when the weather is good in DC, since it doesn’t usually last. Today was gorgeous and I stayed in, trying to work. Now I’m grumpy and cricked up and I haven’t watched a cicada flounder around all day. I won’t make the same mistake tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s plan:

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