Ann Arbor on foot

You miss a lot driving around. To be fair, I miss a lot while wandering around on foot too, as prone as I am to distraction. But today I remembered one of those things as I passed under the railroad tracks near the YMCA on West Washington, on my way to a meeting in town. Among the shrubbery growing gangly and wild in the ditch at the side of the tracks I spotted the unmistakable spike of a corn stalk. Upon closer inspection, I spied a couple of genuine cobs, nestled still inside their husks, silky threads sprouting out.

Corn! By the side of the road!

Chris tells me that this isn't some strange fluke of nature or part of a very small-scale community garden project. Apparently, this happens all the time in ditches by railroads. (Evidently he spent a good deal of his childhood in such ditches.)

Apparently when trains rattle through piled high with feed corn, a little spills here and there, carried by motion and the wind to the crevices on either side of the tracks. There, it plants itself in the landscape and, doing the only thing it knows how, grows up into a nice tall stalk in an unusual place.

And to think, all this time, I just never knew.