Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My husband and I enjoyed Sunday brunch recently at the Spring Mill Cafe in Conshohocken, followed by a bike ride along the Schuylkill River Trail. 
A kid at heart, he likes to make a game of our rides and hikes, often suggesting we track down something unusual along the route. Last winter, for instance, we played a game of seek-and-find with the statue of the Lenape chief along Forbidden Drive. (We played that same game in September with friends, the hunt made harder by the canopy of leaves.)
On this sunny Sunday we had a new goal: finding huge wind chimes my husband thought he had seen a while back, somewhere along the river.
"Somewhere along the river" covers quite a stretch, but we were optimistic. His instincts told him to get off the path and head down River Road. 
"Off the beaten path" is a good way to describe this less-taken road, nestled between the river and the train tracks. I got a '60s feel as we pedaled past gardens, yard art, plant-covered porches and peace signs. 
As we approached a wide green lawn leading to the riverbank, my husband spotted the chimes. There are three of them, huge indeed, hanging from tall trees in the center of the grass. An inviting hammock rests below.
Earlier he had said it might take a hurricane to make those chimes ring, and he just may be right. The light breeze that day did nothing to move those pipes, some of them over 4 feet long.
"Should we ring them?" I said, already knowing the answer to that question.
I looked around.
No fence, no sign saying "Keep out," no one else in sight.
"I'll hold your bike," my husband said.
Feeling like a mischievous kid, I ran to the first set of chimes and gently swung the wooden clapper. Low, harmonic tones sounded.
I turned to the center set  -- the Big Ben of the group -- and did the same. Even deeper tones gonged.
I set the smallest set to ringing, adding to the chorus, then ran back to my bike, feeling giddy and happy.
As we pedaled away I shouted, "Thank you!" to the unseen owners of those beautiful instruments.
I'm sure I'm not the first person to give in to that irresistible impulse; I'm also sure I won't be the last.
I may have to go back for an encore.

Phone cameras do come in handy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One of my favorite reasons to look up in Philadelphia.

I met my husband for lunch in Center City yesterday, a more than momentary joy.
We also got to see our son, which always warms this mother's heart.
On my way back to the train station, I felt like a tourist, gazing up at skyscrapers, marveling at marble inlays, bronze sculptures, amazing stonework.
Heading home, I got a kick out of seeing my folks' house from the railroad side, zipping by the suburban back yards of my childhood.
'Twas a good day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Technical note:
I have heard from several readers in recent months that they have trouble leaving comments on "Momentary Joy."
This is troubling, since part of the fun of writing a blog is hearing back from readers. It can become a virtual conversation.
The good news is that I've changed one of the settings, which should make leaving comments easier.
If you're so inspired, click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of a posting. (If you're the first to comment, the link will say "No Comments.")
Next to the words, "Comment as," choose your easiest option from the drop-down menu. 
Don't be put off by the "Name/URL" choice if you don't have a URL. In a test, it worked fine by simply adding a name, leaving the URL field blank. You can also comment anonymously.
Since I always put a link to my blog on Facebook, many of you kindly leave comments there. 
If you really want to make my day, you can become an official follower of "Momentary Joy," using the link on the bottom right. (That process is not quite as flexible as leaving a comment.)
  I appreciate all feedback, however you choose to deliver it to me!

The ghosts are back.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Halloween got an extension around here.
In our town, trick-or-treating was moved to Saturday afternoon, the better to keep everyone safe from darkened streets and downed trees. Smart idea.
On Sunday, the day before Sandy struck, our house looked so barren. Anything that could be blown away we had carefully stowed inside, either in the house or the garage.
By Halloween, the winds and rain had subsided for the most part (we miraculously did not lose power), and it felt safe to venture outdoors again. At first, the only people I saw were dog walkers (necessity always calls), runners, and drivers of power trucks. Little by little, a sense of normalcy returned.
Gargoyle on guard
Remembering the season, I decided to put things back in place.
Gargoyle on the top step?
Giant spider hanging from porch ceiling?
Ghosts fluttering above railings?
Political lawn signs?
It looked like home again.
Years ago I worked for newspapers, where weather stories come with the territory. (Granted, those stories aren't always as dramatic as a hurricane. You could have to call a hardware store to find out about the shortage of snow shovels in January, or air-conditioners in August.)
In the midst of one hurricane season in the newsroom, I heard this wry gem:
"What did hurricanes sound like before there were freight trains?"
(I wish I could remember who said that, so I could give the writer credit.)