Walking Brays Bayou in Houston

I’ve wanted to walk along one of the canals in Houston to get to an event. The canals here are called “bayous.” Whatever floats your boat.

This was the route I approximately wanted to take: starting from around the Museum of Fine Arts, and ending up at the University of Houston stadium.

route to U of Houston

Hey, you know how there’s University of California and University of North Carolina, and all these universities of different states? But then you come to a university for a single city. It seems like a big undertaking.

Now, to clarify, when I first google-mapped this route, it suggested a path straight through the city blocks, but I adjusted it to hug the Bayou. This particular bayou is called Brays Bayou (there’s a couple in Houston.) I was not so sure how safe it would be, but now that I’ve done the walk, I can tell you it felt pretty safe, and it was actually a beautiful walk.

First, you walk along the north side of Hermann Park. That was nice.

Then you go just a little bit south and you meet up with the Bayou. There was no path to get down there, so I just made my carefully-footed way down the kind of steep hillside to the Bayou sidewalk. Now, if you’ll notice, you just at that point you go under the bridges of some major freeway. That part is a little creepy as you walk under giant pole after giant pole. Huge blocks of concrete everywhere. Just colossal infrastructure hunting you down from every angle. Lots of nooks for a axe murderer to hide out in. I walked fast and kept looking over my shoulder.

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Brays Bayou under the freeway

route to U of Houston 2

But after that, it was really pretty. It was a long walk, but it was worth it. Because will you believe it, for the first time, Houston did something nice. They’ve planted all these beautiful wildflowers along the banks of the Bayou. Ooooh, they were so pretty. They were yellow and purple, and then every now and again there were tall stalks of sunflowers.

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Brays Bayou

One dog shouted at me. But thankfully, it was behind a fence and didn’t try to jump. There was one single intersection that had broken down buildings, but that passed quickly. The rest was homes and apartments.

route to U of Houston 3

Then towards the end, you go north. That part is nice, too. You just pass a bunch of churches and apartments, and then you get to the University campus, and that was nice, too.

So you can walk Brays Bayou, too, without too many worries.

And when I got to the University stadium, there was a rally for Bernie Sanders! That was cool. I had a moment of worry, because after walking for over 1.5 hours, I got to the stadium and there were all these rules I hadn’t known about. You can’t go into the stadium with a bag, unless it’s a clear bag. Clear all the way through. It’s a security thing. The only exception is if your bag is 6 inches by 4 inches. My bag was I believe more like 8 by 6 inches, but they let it by. I also had a canvas bag with me. I emptied it and stuck it in my jacket pocket. And then I carried my book and my empty container of food up to security and they let me and my armful all go in. Once in, I got the canvas bag back out and refilled it.

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Bernie Sanders rally in Houston

It was really nice, because they were selling popcorn and nachos and all this other stuff. This was the nicest campaign rally I’d ever been to. I’ve seen Obama twice. Both times were kind of miserable. We were just standing in a large fields, thousands of people, waiting for hours and hours, everything was late — and then were too far away to hear well, or really see. This time, we could sit on the seats in the stadium and be comfortable while we waited. There was a nice band playing. I read my book. There was free wifi. And Bernie came on time.

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Bernie Sanders rally in Houston
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Bernie Sanders himself

The last of the mohicans

I’m reading the “Last of the Mohicans”. I’m reading it because Lucy Maud Montgomery read it and mentioned it in her journal. However, I checked it out 2 months ago and I am still on page 45. In the meantime, I finished reading “How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents” and started and am over halfway through “The Mill on the Floss,” which is 550 massive, small-print pages. So you may infer from that what I think of “The last of the Mohicans.”

Is this book considered offensive towards American Indians? I’m going to do some digging into that.

In the meantime, though, the book is describing an utter wilderness of what is now upstate New York, way back in the 1700s. An untouched forest where you easily can lose your way in between two different forts: Fort Edward and Fort William Henry.

last of the mohican map
Fort Edward is at the bottom, and Fort William Henry is just over the tip of the screenshot (couldn’t fit)

Now look. That whole wild forest where the main characters got lost has just vanished. It’s kind of sad. Lucy Maud Montgomery writing about Prince Edward Island helped preserve nearly all the natural beauty there, it seems like; it’s sad Last of the Mohicans couldn’t do the same for this area. Maybe because the book really is bad.

Hummingbirds and butterflies

I saw a monarch butterfly happen upon our red roses a few weeks ago. And I have seen also a butterfly with glossy silky sapphire wings, and one with lemon-yellow wings.

And we have a hummingbird friend that comes at least once a day, or several times a day, to our red roses. I know he’s (or she’s) there because he always comes throttling with the hum of his madly flapping wings. They sound like a busy little engine, and flap so fast I see nothing but a flash and the hazy feathers of the body beyond, and a pointed beak suckling on a rose for an instant, then disappearing around the house in the next.

Right on cue as fall has come … the road through the forest is now scattered with yellow-green leaves … even though the green symphony in the trees remains strong and unblemished.

grass in North Carolina

It is almost noon and the grass is still wet with soft, shiny pearl-drops of dew, at least on the slope over which the shadow of the heavy forest had lingered till just a bit ago. The sun has already warmed that grass, but not enough to siphon off the dew. Walking through the warm, wet grass is delicious.