Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Please, Give the Olentangy a Drink.
I am quite fortunate to live very close to one of Ohio's major rivers, the Olentangy. This river is particually famous for dissecting the campus of The Ohio State University, where my wife Megan currently spends her time pursuing a PhD in nursing. About five miles due north of campus, the river is still somewhat wild. No dams, an excellent wooded corridor, and relatively intact pools, riffles, and runs, all different types of river habitats. Central Ohio has been extremely dry this summer, and the river is simply not as wet as is should be. The water has gotten so low that I can see to the bottom in places that last year were murky and dark. The water has cleared considerably. Two feet of crystal clear water is common, and I can watch sunfish and hognose suckers scatter about as I wade near their pool. The fish are well contained to nice holes and pools, making them quite easy to catch but admittedly, they do not offer much of a challenge. But yes, we could use rain here in central Ohio, and we could use this rain soon. Today we had a few drops, I maybe felt one hundred at lunchtime in my backyard and then another several hundred drops during my afternoon walk around my office grounds. Obviously, this is not enough. Even the bush honeysuckle, an agressive non-native species, is beginning to wilt along the fencerow parallel to our street. The heat gets to me when we have multiple days above 90 degrees coupled with very high humidity. I stay outside waiting for it to become cool late in the evening after the sun drops below the horizon, but it is still dissapointingly muggy and warm. Alas, we are almost in July. Botanically, things are quite slow along the river. We've had a splash of color added by the white and purple blooms of water willow, but they have mostly faded and nothing has replaced their color. I'm anxious to see if any Cardinal flower grows along our stretch of the Olentangy. For those of you that don't know this plant, it produces beautiful and large clusters of red flowers, and its preferred habitat is along wet shores and swampy places. We'll see if it shows up in the next few months. I hope you enjoy the photo I have posted above: this was actually taken last week, and the water in the river is even lower now. You can see Megan in the background. She's holding her cell phone talking to her brother Mike. She's an excellent big sister.