Sunrise 34: Ault Park (World War I Memorial, Lightning-Struck Tree, Unknown Conifer)
These overcast days have really begun to push my creativity. On a beautiful sunrise morning (hopefully like tomorrow’s if the forecast is correct!) it isn’t hard to get a couple of interesting unique pictures and call it a day. But on these mornings where the sky is dark and gray and everything looks the same as it has for the past five days, I find myself exploring areas of the park that I often overlook out of habitualness. Yesterday, for example, I found out that there were redwood trees in the park. Not the pacific northwest redwoods, but another kind of redwood that grows 100ft high none the less and is critically endangered.
This morning I also experienced another “first”. I met a nice woman who identified me as “the sunrise guy” – this is now the fourth of such encounters* – and she said that I was an inspiration to her new routine of getting up at sunrise and walking her golden retriever through the park. It was an exciting encounter and she even made the claim that this “sunrise movement” is going to catch on! Thanks Polly 🙂
* I probably forgot to mention it – but last Saturday at the Bike+Brew (specifically at the Lackman Bar in Over-The-Rhine) I actually met a guy who found out about Ault Park Sunrise from a post I submitted to reddit. I mentioned that I love the history of Cincinnati and asked him if he knew about Ault Park. He replied “hey that used to be a vineyard!”. I said “haha yeah! I just found that out myself because I’m doing this sunrise project…” and he replied “Oh! haha! I saw your website on reddit’s cincinnati section and thats how I knew it was a vineyard!”. I’m still recovering from that piece of mind explosion.
Young cones on the conifer trees.
The large conifer with a picnic bench underneath it.
As I entered the park this morning I stopped early and checked out the two large conifers that rise high above the playground on the west part of the park. I wondered if they, too, were redwood conifers. I don’t believe they are after inspecting the leaves. Also they are bearing small pine cones, something that I didn’t notice on the redwood. These pine cones are actually one of my absolute favorite “fruits” of the park, if you will. I collected several of them last year because they look so beautiful when they are just starting to grow. I didn’t even know what they were when I found them on the ground last spring, and the mystery wasn’t solved until almost a year later when I realized that the small fractal ball I held was actually a pine cone that had another couple of months of growth before it became mature. I actually have, sitting on my dresser at home, two sets of pine cones that I collected last year. One set is from these two conifers in Ault Park. They are large, green, and healthy with symmetrical features and fully developed leaves. The other two are from a park down in Hyde Park, where the trees are smaller and probably younger. The pine cones are small, a bit mishapen, and not as fully developed. Assuming that the trees are the same species and the cones were about the same age, to me it says that the Ault Park elevation, clean valley air, and low pollution provide the perfect environment for these large conifers. Perhaps they are Cedars??
In a couple weeks they will be marble sized, perfect for collecting 🙂 (If you’re on the front page, click to continue – including the WWI memorial) (more…)
Sunrise 11: Ault Park (Misty Mountain Hop)
Early this morning an intense thunderstorm rolled through the area. It woke Amanda and I up several times, although I have no idea when. My phone actually
died rebooted in the middle of the night at some point. This is the first time I woke up on my own before sunrise without an alarm, but expecting the alarm to be functional. To me, that means that project sunrise is working. It is changing me, for the good. In the back of my mind I can jump out of sleep when the birds start chirping. Who needs an alarm clock anyway? 🙂
Now that I think about it, however, I’m not even sure it was my phone’s fault. Ive been known to do strange sleep walking activities. I never know or remember unless there is some evidence left over the next morning. Waking up in a different bed than I went to sleep in, for example. Last week I sent a “sleep text message” to my twitter account that I still haven’t exactly been able to account for. Earlier in the previous day I signed up for a twitter account. In the process you can add your cell phone number so that you can post to your account by a text message sent from your phone. They give you a randomly generated word (my word was “GO”) that you have to send from your handset to prove that you have access to it. I took care of that and moved on with my day. Sometime early the next morning, my brain floating atop a river of melatonin, I must have had a dream in which “confirming” my twitter account was high on my priority list. Your guess here is as good as mine… Apparently around 3:20am that morning (a full three hours before I actually got up, and a full three hours after I went to bed), I went into my phone, found the automated message from the twitter-bot (which meant I had to scroll down through several other messages in my inbox), and replied “go well” to it. I didn’t find this out until later that day when I noticed there was a rogue twitter post on my profile. Why did I add the “well” to the message? I imagine it made perfect sense at the time.
Anyways, this morning was gloomy and wet, but pleasantly warm. I biked up to the overlook and was met with patches of misty fog.
The atmosphere was a dark gray on the misty mountain top, and I was alone in the park. Even the park crew didn’t show up until later. Fortunately for me, it didn’t rain much more than a drizzle, and the haze made the lights of the incoming planes stand out nicely.
I’m not sure if the street lights are on a timer or if they use an ambient light sensor. I would think they were on a timer like the rest of the city lights, but they were on all morning (at least until 7:40am, 40 minutes after sunrise). (More after the jump) (more…)