Thursday, November 25, 2010

The small, blazing orange hat hugged the head of the little boy walking just ahead of me. He was about half the height of the man beside him -- not yet a yardstick tall.
The boy held to his chest a large rectangle of construction paper. I saw a flash of colorful handprints and thought: nursery school project.
As we all turned the corner and headed toward the grocery store, I said to the boy, "Did you make that?"
He looked up and showed me his creation: a happy-looking turkey with handprint tail feathers and long legs dangling off the page.
"He's taking his turkey for a walk," the dad said with a smile.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

One recent, rather full, day, I squeezed in a trip to the gym. The parking lot was crammed with cars, but I found a spot at the far edge … the better to squeeze in a few extra steps.
  As I started to speed toward the door, my list of later to-dos in my head, I caught sight of two Canada geese, who were in absolutely no hurry at all. Their slow, leisurely waddle through the lot literally brought me to a halt. 
I stood and watched -- and listened. To my left, cars and trucks whooshed through the adjacent industrial park; to my right, turnpike traffic droned and rumbled just beyond the gym. In between this pair of geese meandered down the drive, making their way to the grass beyond the curb with a slow-motion grace.
Their feathers? Quite unruffled.
Honk if you love serendipity.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Don’t let the name fool you. Forbidden Drive* is a most welcoming place.
    My husband and I joined two friends for a bike trip down the drive on Saturday morning, ending at the Manayunk Diner. (Banana walnut pancakes: the perfect fuel for the return trip.)
    I didn’t bring my camera, but my memory holds the images that will stay:
    * Reaching the top of a ridge, and looking way down at the Wissahickon Creek. Morning mist snaked above the surface, airy white against deep green.
    * Passing the Valley Green Inn, seeing small, round, ghostly tables cloaked in white. (I must still have Halloween on the brain.) On our way back, we passed a wedding party there, which made those ghosts more formal than haunting.
    * Watching a runner approach in the distance. Back-lit by the sun, her ponytail swished and flashed with each stride.
    Forbidden Drive was full of people: walking, running, walking dogs, riding bikes (and one horse). As with my visit to Pennypack Park, I was struck by how easy it was to forget we were still in the city.
    Penn’s Woods are alive and well in Philadelphia.
* Factoid: Forbidden Drive used to be known as Upper Wissahickon Drive. The name change came in the 1920s, when wise powers-that-be banned cars from the road.   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crawling out of bed before sunrise to take our dog out is not part of my usual routine, but sometimes, it’s necessary.
    That necessity called the other morning, and I stood on our front yard, mostly asleep, in the quiet dark.
    While Louie rustled through leaves, I looked up, and saw no clouds, all silver lining.
    The stars were brilliant, pinprick diamonds dotting the sky. A white sliver of moon hung like a crooked smile.
    Thanks, Lou. I wouldn’t have seen that if it weren’t for you.