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How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too
Frightened.
__ Hafiz

I like the lesson in this poem.  To remember to be a light to the world.  Who knows what beauty you will encourage?

“A pedestrian is a man in danger of his life.  A walker is a man in possession of his soul.”
— David McCord

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this third leg of my circumambulation of Seattle because the southern perimeter zigs and zags across industrial areas. It’s not a straightforward boundary line because Boeing Field interrupts the trek east to west. I would be leaving the flat, scenic shoreline of Lake Washington and heading toward Puget Sound. I’m not familiar with south Seattle, as I live and work in a northern neighborhood, so I didn’t know what to expect.

My husband came along to keep me company for the first part of the day’s walk. We started at South Kenyon Street and walked to the lakeshore. We walked south along Lake Washington to Thayer Street, not quite to the Renton border. At Thayer, we headed uphill to begin our walk west. This was the first of several uphill stretches on our journey.

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Rather than follow each zig and zag along the city’s south boundary line, we fudged a bit to take in some more natural pathways. Our first destination was the Kubota Garden. We found the southernmost entrance by Mapes Creek overgrown with blackberry brambles. So we continued on to the main entrance on S 55th Street. The Japanese garden was a tranquil place early in the morning and we were its only visitors. It was an in-between time in terms of color. The rhododendron bloom was past its peak. But the curved paths took us past thoughtfully landscaped ponds and lawns, so it was a lovely meander.

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

Gated entrance

Gated entrance

Rabbit in the gardens

Rabbit in the gardens

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

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We exited the Kubota Garden on Renton Avenue and headed west toward the Rainier Beach light rail stop. There we intercepted the Chief Sealth trail, a bike and pedestrian trail along a green belt. The paved trail wove up and down in a grassy meadow landscape.

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Chief Sealth trail

Chief Sealth trail

At Kenyon Street we headed west to Beacon Avenue, followed it until it turned into Swift Avenue, and continued north along I-5. We were under the noisy flight path of planes destined for Seatac Airport and Boeing Field.

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We crossed I-5 at Albro Street and rested for a few minutes at Ruby Chow Park. Then George caught a bus back to his truck, and I continued on my way west. I walked to S Eddy Street in the Georgetown neighborhood and followed it to Michigan Street. I continued on Michigan to the First South Bridge, whose Duwamish bike trail provided pedestrian access across the Duwamish River. Now I was in the heart of the industrial area of Seattle – barges, concrete, traffic, storage lots for all sorts of industrial materials.

The Duwamish River

The Duwamish River

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

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I followed the zig-zag bike path to the South Park neighborhood. The library there provided a clean and quiet space for a break before I headed up the hill on Cloverdale, over Hwy 509, and up into West Seattle.

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

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As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

Once again I fudged a bit on my periphery route, bypassing the point at Arbor Heights in favor of a more direct walk west. I took Roxbury to 8th Avenue SW, then 8th to Henderson St, and Henderson to Barton St and 35th Avenue SW.

I marveled at the beautiful flowers and landscaping I saw along the residential streets, but the highlight was the Barton Street Pea Patch on 35th Avenue SW. Everything looked so healthy and full of life. The colorful poppies and pink peonies were eye catching. The prolific pea plants gave special meaning to the concept of a “pea patch” garden. If I lived in this neighborhood, I would definitely get on the waiting list for a spot in this community garden.

From a yard along SW Henderson St

From a yard along SW Henderson St

The perfect rose

The perfect rose

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Sunflower in the pea patch

Sunflower in the pea patch

Poppies

Poppies

Peas in the pea patch

Peas in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

I took a short two-block detour on 35th to the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library for a needed break before catching the Rapid Line C back to downtown Seattle.

Walking distance: about 13 miles

Woodland Park Rose Garden, Seattle

Woodland Park Rose Garden, Seattle

“‘What a lovely thing a rose is!’

He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green.  It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.

‘There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion,’ said he, leaning with his back against the shutters.  ‘It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner.  Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers.  All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance.  But this rose is an extra.  Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it.  It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.'”
— Arthur Conan Doyle, The Naval Treaty

Red rose

Red rose

June is the month of roses, and I celebrated with a visit to Seattle’s Woodland Park Rose Garden.  Even though admission is free, it is rarely crowded.  The varieties of roses there is amazing.

'Secret' hybrid tea rose

‘Secret’ hybrid tea rose

White flower beds near the pond

White flower beds near the pond

Lovely setting for a picnic

Lovely setting for a picnic

Water lilies in the pond

Water lilies in the pond

Woodland Park Rose Garden

Woodland Park Rose Garden

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“I like my body when it is with your body.
It is quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.”
—  e.e. cummings

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”
— Emma Goldman

Watercolor sketch of rose petal heart

Watercolor sketch of rose petal heart

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Watercolor sketch of rose petal heart

Watercolor sketch of rose petal heart

 

 

 

To Paint a Rose

June 21, 2013

Caribbean grandiflora

Caribbean grandiflora

“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”
— Henri Matisse

June is the month of roses, and in celebration of the first day of summer, this post takes you to the Woodland Park Rose Garden in Seattle.  It is a colorful oasis in the city.   Entry to the garden is free, so I’m always surprised to see so few visitors there.

Woodland Park Rose Garden, Seattle

Woodland Park Rose Garden, Seattle

Long view across the garden

Long view across the garden

Diana Princess of Wales hybrid tea roses

Diana Princess of Wales hybrid tea roses

Roses in Woodland Park

Roses in Woodland Park

At the Woodland Park Rose Garden

At the Woodland Park Rose Garden

Sweetness grandiflora

Sweetness grandiflora

Caribbean grandiflora

Caribbean grandiflora

Neptune hybrid tea roses

Neptune hybrid tea roses

Day Breaker floribunda

Day Breaker floribunda

Time to play with my camera's kaleidoscope effect

Time to play with my camera’s kaleidoscope effect

And tunnel effect

And tunnel effect

Watercolor sketch of Caribbean Grandiflora rose

Watercolor sketch of Caribbean Grandiflora rose

 

 

Roses from my next-door neighbor’s garden

Roses with bird feeder

Roses with cross-process effect

Rose petals with HDR-ish effect

“every rose
opened in perfect sweetness
and lived
in gracious repose,

in its own exotic fragrance,
in its huge willingness to give
something, from its small self,
to the entirety of the world.”
— from “The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts” by Mary Oliver

You can read the entire poem at this link.

To Be Always June

June 30, 2012

Raspberries

Fresh garden peas

Vine-ripening strawberries

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”
— Lucy Maud Montgomery

What would it be like indeed — a life of strawberries and raspberries, fresh garden peas, roses, long days.  I guess I’d still choose a world with four seasons.  Perpetual summer would be just too much of a good thing.

How about you?

Some of my current pile of library books to read

“I see you, rose, half-open book filled
with so many pages of that detailed
happiness we will never read.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

The titles in my pile of books:

  • Findings: Essays on the Natural and Unnatural World by Kathleen Jamie
  • When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilyn Robinson
  • Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea and Japan by F. H. King
  • Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama

(I was inspired to check two of these books out of the library after reading Sigrun’s list of books about nature, solitude, and travel on her blog, Sub Rosa.  You can link to her complete list here.)

Souls in Bloom

June 22, 2012

Pink roses in bloom

“Summer: to be for a few days the contemporary of roses; to breathe what’s floating around their souls in bloom.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

How lucky we are to be alive in June, the contemporaries and companions of roses!  This time I am air-drying a bowlful of soulful rose petals so that their special beauty will linger into fall and winter.

Rose petals from Carol’s fragrant bouquet

A potpourri of multicolored rose petals

Roses from Carol’s garden

Roses
by D. H. Lawrence

Nature responds so beautifully.
Roses are only once-wild roses, that were given an extra chance,
So they bloomed out and filled themselves with coloured fulness
Out of sheer desire to be splendid, and more splendid.

My friend and colleague, Carol, brought a bouquet of her home-grown roses to work for everyone to enjoy.  The splendid bouquet graced the Circulation Desk at the library, and I stuck my nose into the soft petals several times a day to inhale their heady fragrance.  Thank you, Carol!!

The bouquet was especially fragrant.

Grace note at the library Circulation Desk