Walking Through Time and Colored Space

Monday Morning Musings:

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment.

A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors.”

–Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

I.

Valley Green Inn

Valley Green Inn

A lunch date at a favored place

where time both moves and pauses, still—

 

(our hearts, across, but not apart.

He says, “Look at that horse and cart.”)

Valley Green Inn

We eat and talk, at a leisurely pace

we walk through sun and autumn chill

past greens and blues and shadowed grey

where rival geese gangs gather like Jets and Sharks

 

(honks and echoes through the park)

 

and pops of red and golden leaves gently sway

in the breeze that sparks

 

more conversation–

punctuated by loud fowl annotations.

 

All the colors of the day, all the light that bends

as life begins and as it ends

 

what do we see—

no, really look, stare

 

focus on a tree,

at all the colors there

October, National Park, NJ

the hues of yesterday tread

on tomorrow–but see today.

 

And so, we do,

and watch it slowly fade away

 

to the bright humming moon in the indigo blue

who sends our dreams out on their way.

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II.

Another walk, I see AMOR, bright red

and nearby, a yellow flower

then a memorial to survivors and six million dead

murdered by those came to power

while others stood by.

(Not humanity’s finest hour.)

 

I see fountains and birds

and buildings and sky–

but what are the words

to offer, when I wonder why

 

the hate—then comes another shooter

thoughts and prayers do not suffice

 

against the looters and wannabe storm troopers–

how many more must be sacrificed?

 

What of memorials then, and statues of love

when the haters make no amends

 

and the peace dove

seems to fly a route that bends

 

and sways precariously

while the refugees flee–

 

So, we gather together, family and friends

find joy in cats and pizza, hold close hope—

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look for the helpers, the lights in the crack

look for love, and those who have your back

 

because who knows when something wicked this way comes

and if only we could be warned by pricking of the thumbs

 

and if evil only came in theatrical play

wouldn’t earth be a wonderful place to stay?

 

III.

We walk again, view art on the walls

pops of color on fall’s gloomy streets

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discuss stories and recall

this and that, before we take our seats

 

to see a play about after the apocalypse

a ragtag group that performs The Simpsons.

they recount episodes, buy lines for scripts

try to come to grips, that they’re the ones

 

who are left. The play continues, years pass

and a mythology forms, but has love won?

 

Certainly, the need to tell stories is ageless, ancient

words, rhythm, art, song—is eternal

 

and so is the need to make a statement

about our own times–so it comes full circle.

 

We discuss the play over cheese and wine

then walk to the train to return to our home

Tria

Orange wine at Tria

feeling fortunate that we are fine–

though my thoughts roam

 

to those who have lost people they cherish

killed by hate and those who support it

 

how do we make it perish,

make the world emit

 

love, kindness, joy,

and hate outwit–

 

so, a ploy–

I sleep and dream–

 

see time rippling in a wave

flowing in an endless eternal sea

 

colored by infinite hues, and thoughts we save

ride through all space, simply waiting to be

 

born again with a bang.

Dreams of a thousand colors. Think if. Maybe. Stay.

 

Sunrise, National Park, NJ

 

Even though this is more than one walk, I’m also linking this to Robin’s Walktober. I hope that’s OK, Robin.

I. We had lunch at the Valley Green Inn, then walked along Forbidden Drive.  II. I walked through the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza (also written about here) and along the Parkway in Philadelphia. III. We walked around before and after seeing Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play at the Wilma Theater.

 

Haunted by Waters: Walktober 2016

Monday Morning Musings:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
–Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

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It was a mixed-up crazy day,

an autumn day that thought it was summer.

It was a day meant for outdoor dining,

we chose a restaurant at a river park.

 

The park also had a personality disorder,

an urban park, but around a river

peaceful and serene by the water,

traffic whooshing by on the other side.

 

But sitting on the terrace,

we didn’t hear the cars

we heard only the music playing from the speakers,

innocuous, adult contemporary,

loud enough to notice, but not too loud.

Our friendly server, Emily,

brought us food and drinks

I even had a glass of red wine,

a California Cabernet,

the ruby red color,

echoed the color of the changing leaves.

We ate and talked,

shaded by an umbrella,

but drinking in the sunlight with our meals,

savoring both to remember

in the cold months to come.

 

We took a walk after lunch,

truthfully, not that much of a walk,

I thought there would be nature trails,

But it didn’t matter

because behind the restaurant

my husband said, “Look at the heron.”

and then I saw there was more than one.

 

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We walked a loop,

Veterans’ Island,

and we watched the birds,

I was fascinated by these black—what are they?

Some type of geese?

They flew together into the water,

a group in water and air

and flapped their wings loudly

 

We saw a turtle hitchhiking on a branch,

floating in the water

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Without a path, we walked across the grass

stopping sometimes to look at the river,

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Then we had to walk on the sidewalk by the street

and around construction sites

where a weed bloomed amidst the rusty steel

hope and determination

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We saw a Holocaust monument

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Areas of manicured park

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And a forked tree by a picnic table

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But still the river beyond,

ancient and knowing.

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I think of how life was centuries ago,

when a river ran through it,

lifeblood of a settlement,

thoughts run through my head

neural pathways, like a river.

 

I am mesmerized by water, rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans,

ensorcelled by the sparkles, the drops, the spray

the creatures that live in and around it

and that fly overheard,

I find the words hidden under rocks in my head–

I remember going to the pool when I was a child,

going to a lake as a young married woman,

I remember taking my young daughters to a pool,

and to the ocean,

memories that swim together, floating in my mind

I am enchanted

I am haunted by waters.

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This post is also my  Walktober. offering for Robin of Breezes at  Dawn. Visit her blog with its beautiful photos of nature and wildlife and more.

Last year, my Walktober offering also involved a walk around water, Wissahickon Creek after lunch at Valley Green Inn.

In this post, I described our meal at Cooper House , and we walked around Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, NJ.

 

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