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A refreshingly warm (yet not hot), mostly clear and sunny Saturday propelled me out this afternoon to the other side of the Mississippi River and the American Bottom floodplain close to Columbia, Illinois.

I found an area close to the Jefferson Barracks Bridge that my friend Beth had described to me, and very pretty it was too.

There was still a lot of pooled flood water, and some of the local roads were closed, but nothing that sent me too far out of my way.

The trees are showing their first leaves and some of the spring crops were greening the ground, but overall it was a gray and brown landscape. Not for very much longer, I sensed though.

I saw a couple of herons and some coots were splashing among the flooded bushes.Although I arrived at about mid-afternoon, it didn't really seem that long before the sun was setting. I was enjoying my time there and, as much as anything else, it was a pleasure just to be standing outside in the warm sunlight.

That did not last. As soon as the sun dipped, it felt appreciably cooler. Still, I stayed to catch the Jefferson Barracks Bridge washed with yellow and to see the sky turn to a delicious magenta.Another exceptionally fine afternoon's food for the soul.