The goal just after lunch yesterday was Waynick Cemetery (above), a couple of miles southwest of town, to check out a tombstone --- but.
The first thing I noticed when driving up alongside was the lavish embankment of Hemerocallis fulva "Kwanso," the double, frilly daughter of our plainer Tawny Daylily, aka Ditchlily, that bloomed lavishly about a month ago and then departed (I have yet to cut back the raggedy stems here at home).
Like their plainer parent, the Kwansos are an import --- brought here by pioneer gardeners, shared with neighbors by dividing clumps and often spread along roadsides by other means, most often road graders. They bloom longer, for much of the late summer, and the individual blossoms are much more elaborate.
I'm guessing the lilies were planted along the Waynick embankment by the ladies of the neighborhood back in the day when the pioneer cemetery (founded at the death of Orela Ann Waynick in 1851), also known as Holmes, was maintained by a cemetery association --- families, friends and neighbors of those buried here.
The colony then spread, most likely courtesy of road graders, west along the road all the way down to the Chariton River. Because this old road turns from gravel to dirt at the top of the hill beyond the cemetery and is only minimally maintaned, they continue to flourish.
Down by the river, some thought was given to using the Missouri crossing --- then dismissed. I'm reasonably sure I'd have made it, but was uncertain how solid the bottom was and didn't want to wade in to find out. An important life lesson for those who wander around by themselves a lot is to try not to get into a mess you can't get out of --- by yourself.
There used to be a wonderful old iron bridge here, destroyed by a damnfool drunk who slammed into its superstructure at high speed while being pursued by a sheriff's deputy.
Not so long ago, Mary Ruth --- whose old homestead (still occupied by family) is just south on a lane from the cemetery --- reported after spring rains that a pickup full of damnfool kids ended up afloat here when they unwisely decided to attempt a crossing at night.
So I drove back into town and took the long way around to the other side, then up the Cinder Path for about a mile and back again --- just to see what was going on.
I would swear, after half an hour of Web-based research, that it's Netleaf leather-flower --- but that just can't be. We're way to far north to find it along the trail. Help.
The other minor mystery is unfolding down at the marsh, where I ended up a little later. I've been watching two colonies of this aquatic plant develop for a few weeks now on either side of the viewing platform.
But what the heck is it? And why did it appear this summer --- after a year of drought when this area of the marsh pond went bone dry?
Life is full of mysteries --- major and minor.