Has the metallic green beetle known as the emerald ash borer killed this tree, and all its compatriots, in this rest area off 55? There is talk of the pest at a site that I toured the day before in St. Louis. Standing before plans and models for a massive landscape transformation, I nod knowingly, but I have no idea about the enormity of the problem until I check sources that might tell me something about hot pink 13. Since 2002, more than 250 million ash trees have died in the U.S. Numbers always deepen our sense of perspective.
The long drive back to Chicago is unpleasant despite my stock of audio books and podcasts because of throbbing leg pain and I have to stop at this rest area to stretch (sciatica?). I want nothing more than to be home. Wes Anderson will be talking about The Grand Budapest Hotel during this last leg (if my right leg will last another 50 miles without interruption) and I can't wait to get back in the car and talked home.