Walktober: Valley Green Inn and Forbidden Drive

This post is in response to Robin of breezes at dawn. Check out her blog. She writes about her world along the Eastern Shore and her Wabi-Sabi Ranch, and her blog also includes amazingly beautiful photos.

For the past few years we’ve visited the Valley Green Inn during the summer for my mom’s birthday. My husband and I decided to have lunch there this week on a beautiful autumn day, and then take a long walk down Forbidden Drive, along the Wissahickon Creek.

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The bridge was closed,

So we hiked down from the upper lot,

Taking the “scenic route” to the restaurant

Because I have no sense of direction.

Something you should know about me.

Hmmm. . .is this the right way?

Hmmm. . .is this the right way?

But it didn’t matter,

We were not in a hurry at all.

We were taking the day off.

We sat by the window

In that dining room

That always smells of wood smoke

From the fireplace at the end.

Lunch was delicious,

A portabella mushroom sandwich for me

With homemade sweet potato chips,

And an open-face Reuben for him

With house cut French fries

Two cups of coffee each,

And then we were set to go.

I had brought a coat

Thinking it might be chilly,

But the weather was beautiful

And perfect for walking.

I wandered down to the water.

Sun and shadows played a chasing game there.

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We strolled down the path.

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The air smelled fresh and woody—

Not the dry crispness of winter

And not the swampy scent of summer either,

But

Something in between.

The day was bright and clear.

A chipmunk scampered away

Before I could get a picture.

He chirped loudly at us from

Beneath his leafy cover.

Amidst the roots.

We saw an older man walking his dog,

They looked like long-time companions,

Both a little gray and grizzled,

But still enjoying their time together.

A bare-chested man in red shorts ran determinedly

From the opposite direction.

An impressively fit mother

Jogged while pushing her babies

In one of those special strollers

Made for runners with children,

Exercise and childcare combined.

Another woman ambled down the path

While talking on her phone.

Couples meandered with their dogs.

There were a few bikers, too,

But no horses today,

And a childhood memory

Stirred in my mind—

Walking in the woods

With my grandfather and little sister.

He pulled us to the side of a path

As riders on horseback

Come thundering by.

It was thrilling

And a bit scary.

Like ghosts from the past,

And then I remember my brother

Telling me about the Headless Horseman,

A Revolutionary Era soldier

Who supposedly roamed the woods.

But all is peaceful here today,

The ghosts are only in my mind.

We continued our wandering.

We hiked down stone steps

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To the water.

I noticed a tree that

Looked like a skeleton to me.

We saw many trees that had fallen

Or stood at an angle.

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What tales those trees could tell!

Sunlight highlighted a pop of red

Against the gold and still-green branches

And reflected in the water below.

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Birds sang.

“It’s so beautiful,”

I said to my husband.

“Thank you for this day.”

And on the way home in the car

Well, actually to the movies

Because we didn’t want the day

To end,

We listened to Fresh Air,

Terry Gross interviewing

Two bird experts.

There’s a type of bird that can

Mimic almost any sound.

I wondered–

What if there was a bird

There in the woods

Who repeated my words?

What if he flew all over the earth

Saying,

“It’s so beautiful. Thank you for this day.”

***

Thoughts on walking along Forbidden Drive

Walktober 2015

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26 thoughts on “Walktober: Valley Green Inn and Forbidden Drive

  1. I heard someone say “My favorite color is October” and this mix of poetry ad prose prove that, the jewel tones of your outfit the perfect counterpoint. I too enjoyed Terry Gross’ interview with the bird experts and marvel at how bird organs adapt to their seasonal migrations. Thank you for this lovely surprise post!

    Now to check out Robin’s blog.

  2. Oh, Merril, this is the most beautiful Walktober post ever. You paint such vivid and lovely pictures with your words alone, and your photos are wonderful too. I love those stone stairs.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful day. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Walktober 2015: The round-up | breezes at dawn

  4. A most beautiful post, Merril! Love your prose and, like Robin and Frank, am totally in love with those stairs. Thank you for sharing your walk along the Forbidden Drive!

  5. What a lovely setting for a walk and a poem! Love the way you described autumn smelling like something between the dry crispness of winter and the swampy scent of summer. Very inviting, beautiful pictures…

  6. Pingback: Haunted by Waters: Walktober 2016 | Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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