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My job has been a heavy burden for 4 months, so I decided I deserved a few
days off to do whatever I want, and of course that involved birding.
Today's Outdoor Adventure was a trip to Shaw Nature Reserve;  I walked
through the Wildflower Garden and part of the Brush Creek Trail, the River
Trail, part of the Prairie Trail and the Wetland Trail.  I saw a sign there
with a quote from Kierkegaard that started  with "every day I walk myself
into a better state of mind....."; I like that.  Anyway, I learned some
important lessons today that I'd like to share with my birding friends:

Lesson 1 (and the most important one...):  Don't bother spending a sizeable
sum on "The Whole Thing" car wash at Waterway two days before an outdoor
adventure.

Lesson 2:  Don't choose to walk the River Trail on a day after significant
rainfall.

Lesson 3:  If you choose to do so because that's what you always do,
remember to wear your gore-tex boots so you can walk through mud/water with
more ease.

Lesson 4:  If you forget your gore-tex boots, at least remember to leave
your long zipper legs on your convertible pants so when you try to avoid the
mud by walking off the trail, you won't have to worry if that stuff is
really poison ivy that's brushing your bare legs.  (Will I break out in a
rash?  Stay tuned....)

Lesson 5:  If you forget your gore-tex boots and are wearing shorts and are
sliding in the mud and trying not to fall down, try to resist the temptation
to grab for whatever vegetation might be nearby.  You may end up being
stuck/stung with some vicious but unidentified plant/insect and end up with
a thumb that is sore, red and swollen. (reminds me of an encounter with an
attack-cactus in Arizona...)

Despite all these lessons that I learned the hard way, I had a great day.
Beautiful blue skies with white puffy clouds, a nice breeze, temps in the
mid-70s, a small variety of birds, a pleasant lunch overlooking Crescent
Knoll , enjoying a family of eastern bluebirds playing along a fence,
eavesdropping in a prolonged dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Summer Tanager, a
great view of a black-and-white warbler and a good walk.

My tentative plan for Susie's Outdoor Adventure Day 2 is Castlewood Park.
Mike Brady, how muddy is it there?  See, I'm learning......

Susan Eaton
Kirkwood, St. Louis CO., MO
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