Don’t Ask, Walk!

October 19, 2015

“There is one path in the world that none can walk but you.  Where does it lead?  Don’t ask, walk!”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Path at Discovery Park

Path at Discovery Park

 

 

Handsome Paths

June 12, 2014

“And what a dynamic, handsome object is a path!”
— Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space:  The Classical Look at How We Experience Places

Path in Winslow down to the marina

Path in Winslow down to the marina

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I haven’t been out for a wilderness hike yet this year, but I have been enjoying some urban walks.  I love to go out with an open outlook and see what interesting things cross my path.  These pictures were taken on a recent outing to Bainbridge Island.  I couldn’t resist following this enticing green path down from the commercial center to the water.  And I was rewarded with a rare glimpse of a hummingbird!

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Daisies

Daisies

Hummingbird and clover

Hummingbird and clover

 

National Poetry Month. 26

Path through Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Path through Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

“I call ‘poet’ any writing being who sets out on this path, in quest of what I call the second innocence, the one that comes after knowing, the one that no longer knows, the one that knows how not to know.

I call ‘poet’ any writer, philosopher, author of plays, dreamer, producer of dreams, who uses life as a time of ‘approaching.'”
— Helene Cixous, “Coming to Writing” and Other Essays

 

It’s Little I Care

April 23, 2014

 

Path through Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Path through Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Azalea bush along Azalea Way, Washington Park Arboretum

Azalea bush along Azalea Way, Washington Park Arboretum

The siren call of spring . . .

“It’s little I care what path I take
And where it leads it’s little I care,
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.”
—  Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

 

 

Llandover Woods, north Seattle

Llandover Woods, north Seattle

“You cannot find what the poets find in the woods until you take the poet’s heart to the woods.  He sees nature through a colored glass, sees it truthfully, but with an indescribable charm added, the aureole of the spirit.  A tree, a cloud, a bird, a sunset, have no hidden meaning that the art of the poet is to unlock for us.  Every poet shall interpret them differently, and interpret them rightly, because the soul is infinite.”
— John Burroughs, Pepacton

I just learned about this little forest, Llandover Woods,  in north Seattle, not too far from the Dunn Gardens, and I spent an hour walking its groomed trail.  Splotchy bark, hanging moss, ferns, bare trees.  A quiet spot in the city.  Great discovery.

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January morning at Green Lake

January morning at Green Lake

“How glorious the perfect stillness and peace of the winter landscape.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, December 31, 1854

Path through the frosty grass, Green Lake

Path through the frosty grass, Green Lake

“We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day.  We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. . . . Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, December 29, 1856

I took Thoreau’s advice and walked around Green Lake on this frosty January morning.  It was crisp and clear.  I saw three great blue herons, a bald eagle perched in a tree, honking Canada geese, foraging ducks, and other Seattleites out to enjoy the fresh air.

Joggers at Green Lake

Joggers at Green Lake

Fishing from the dock, bundled up, enjoying the natural world

Fishing from the dock, bundled up, enjoying the natural world

One of three great blue herons (notice the frosty back feathers)

One of three great blue herons (notice the frosty back feathers)

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Approaching Ebey's Landing trailhead

Approaching Ebey’s Landing trailhead

“I leave this notice
on my door
For each accustomed
visitor:
I am gone into the fields
To take what this sweet hour yields.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley

I take most of my out-of-town guests to Whidbey Island for hiking at Ebey’s Landing.  The journey itself is half the fun as it involves a ferry ride and a drive along country roads with old barns.

Old barn, Whidbey Island

Old barn, Whidbey Island

Another old barn

Another old barn

Ferry viewed from the bluff at Ebey's Landing

Ferry viewed from the bluff at Ebey’s Landing

The hike itself is pretty spectacular no matter which season I take guests there. The trail is a pleasant loop, up a bluff, and then along the beach on the way back.  This past weekend the landscape was as green as I’ve ever seen it.

Stairs at the start of the hike

Stairs at the start of the hike

Notice the hikers (like ants) on the bluff and on the shore

Notice the hikers (like ants) on the bluff and on the shore

The initial uphill stretch.  The path soon levels off at the top of the bluff.

The initial uphill stretch. The path soon levels off at the top of the bluff.

View of farmland from the bluff; so green

View of farmland from the bluff; so green

View from Ebey's Landing

View from Ebey’s Landing

Lupine

Lupine

Steep slope

Steep slope

Tree sculpted like bonsai

Tree sculpted like bonsai

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Driftwood along the beach

Driftwood along the beach

The homeward stretch along the shore

The homeward stretch along the shore

Seaweed

Seaweed

Seaweed and rocks

Seaweed and rocks

Beach sculpture

Beach sculpture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strolling along tall cedar trees, Washington Park Arboretum

I made a special visit to the Washington Park Arboretum yesterday to experience Paths II: The Music of Trees, a series of seven sound installations by composer Abby Aresty.  She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, and this outdoor music project is her dissertation.  She recorded natural sounds at these sites in different seasons, and then used them in compositions, which are broadcast in three-hour “concerts” on Wednesdays and Saturdays in October. You can read more about this remarkable project in this Seattle Times article.

I didn’t want the month to pass without checking out this unusual art project.  Armed with a map from the Visitor’s Center, I strolled the paths looking for the seven listening sites.  As always, I enjoyed wandering among the many tall trees of the arboretum.  And the unique soundscapes made this visit especially memorable.

“Twisted things continue to make creaking contortions.” (Gaston Bachelard). At Site 1, twisted plastic tubing becomes “mutant” branches.

The path near Site 1: The Music of Trees

Staircase under Japanese maple, Washington Park Arboretum

Walking beneath the rhododendrons at Site 4, where the sounds featured raindrops on leaves

Rhododendron bud

Site 6 used hanging sculptures like wind chimes, and the music incorporated the sounds of falling leaves.

Looking up into the maple tree at Site 7. I couldn’t hear the sound concert because a maintenance crew was blowing leaves down the way.

Washington Park Arboretum

Light-dappled curtain of leaves

Magnolia

Colorful Japanese maple against evergreen

Cluster of oak leaves

Bench, Washington Park Arboretum

Street light, Washington Park Arboretum

Green Lake in autumn

Scarlet and yellow,
Golden and brown,
Winds of October
Blow all the leaves down.
Tear from the branches
Their curtains and spread
Carpets of color
Beneath them instead.
Glittering with rain
Or ablaze in the sun,
Falling in showers
Or dropped one by one.
Scarlet and yellow,
Golden and brown,
Winds of October
Blow the leaves down.

As far as I know, this is one of the few times that I am repeating a poem that I have previously posted on this blog!  I still can’t find the author of this poem, which I first read in a Waldorf school parenting class.  It certainly fits the landscape around Green Lake this week.

Foot path at Green Lake

Fall foliage at Green Lake

Carpets of color

Curtains of red against green and yellow

On the path at Green Lake on a windy October day

Fallen black walnut among the leaves

Winds of October, wild sky over Green Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trail through the Union Bay Natural Area

The wet prairie of the Union Bay Natural Area is studded with Queen Anne’s lace.

The Union Bay Natural Area is a calming oasis in the heart of urban Seattle.  It’s adjacent to the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Elisabeth C. Miller Library.  The looped trail takes you past a wet prairie studded with Queen Anne’s lace and cornflower-blue chicory.  There’s a pond, the shoreline of Lake Washington, lily pads and cattails.

Meadow with Queen Anne’s lace

Looks like a trap for insects!

A fork in the trail

Looking up — a lacy silhouette

Cornflower-blue chicory lining the trail

A place for a peaceful ramble

Great blue heron on the pond