Thursday, March 29, 2012

It does pay to look down.

The day was blustery, but my car kept out the cold.
Stopped at a corner, I peered through the windshield, watching swirls of white flurry across the road.
Drifts gathered and grew by the curb.
Not snow. Cherry blossoms.
After seeing those petals fly this morning, I drove home, grabbed my camera, and went in search of more pink and white beauty.
At one point I stood (carefully) in the middle of a quiet street. The wind gusted, and I found myself in a cherry blossom snow globe. Fallen petals whirled into the air, then fell back to the street, some of them rolling -- yes, rolling -- on their edges before plopping flat against the dark asphalt.
  Every breeze brings a new constellation.
You can connect the dots.
Spring pink on blue sky.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I love the spiky shadows on the sidewalk.

I didn't make it to the Philadelphia Flower Show. 
Fortunately there are blooms abundant free for the viewing on my daily walk.
Daffodils, crocuses, miniature irises … all those planned and planted beauties decorate gardens all through the neighborhood.
I'm particularly fond of the unplanned blossoms, the ones I call "voluntary plants."
Each year, it seems, a new volunteer appears in our yard. One year it was a tiny blue flower shaped like the most miniature of orchids. This year, a delicate white bloom has popped atop tall, green stems.
  In front of a friend's house down the street, minute clover-like flowers festoon the crack between two sidewalk blocks. A corner house is awash in yellow cousins of the daisy.
The yard maintenance industry may not agree with me, but I'd say even dandelions have their beauty, in their sunny yellow and even puff-ball stages.
One woman's weed is another woman's wildflower.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Look out below.
"It's chippy," I said with a shiver.
(I get a kick out of accidental words that fall out of my mouth, in this case a combination of "chilly" and "nippy.")
On that chippy day not long ago, my husband and I were walking along Forbidden Drive. The late afternoon sun didn't offer much warmth, and our lunch had leaned toward the indulgent, so we kept the pace quick.
The views were lovely, starting with a rushing waterfall. On the calmer creek side, the mirror surface reflected blue sky and twiggy treetops.
Between a rock and a high place.
To make things interesting, my husband suggested we try to find the statue of a Lenape chief that looms high above the Wissahickon. We had looked for it on previous visits, but the thick forest of summer had kept it hidden. 
After about 20 minutes of hiking and seeking, the statue still eluded us, but as we neared a bridge my husband spotted something: a flash of white high on the rocks, lit by the sinking sun. 
A closer look confirmed: The chief, 15 feet tall and carved from marble, was found! 
Not content just to find the statue, my husband wanted to see it up close. 
Crossing the creek, we found an archway marking a set of stone stairs, and up we went.
One hundred feet up.
Not the biggest fan of open heights, I stayed a bit below the ridge top. My husband, more adventurous, clambered to the top and stood next to the chief, sharing his lofty view.
You're never too old to play outside.
A plaque along the creek offers a bit of history: 
Carved in 1902, the statue sits on "Council Rock," where the Lenape once gathered.
The plaque includes this sad note about the chief: "Legend has it he's watching his people leave in the late 1750s, headed west for someplace less crowded."
For more about the statue and other outdoor treasures, visit the Friends of the Wissahickon website: