Monday, October 01, 2007
Walking past the ghost tree in Madison's Owen Park at twilight
Owen Conservation Park off Old Sauk Road near Crestwood, is one of Madison's prettier parks in daytime. With its 3.4 miles of trails, it's an unusually good hiking location in the heart of the city, with lots of alternate routes to keep the regular hiker from from getting jaded or bored. Go where the whim of the moment takes you -- 93 acres of prairie and oak savanna spread out all around you, filled with coneflowers, goldenrod and bluestem.
All this begins to drop away as darkness falls and the sunlight is replaced by a spectral twilight. In this crepuscular half light, details fade away, bats take to the sky, and creatures of the night begin their nocturnal scurrying in the underbrush. And the pale, bleached limbs of this solitary, dead tree begin to emerge from the surrounding darkness like a ghost. And Halloween is still a month away.