Yesterday we walked by plantations of white pines and spruce, remnants of old apple orchards, lovely red sugar maples, beeches, hornbeams, and hophornbeams.
Those last two trees are pictured above.
Of the two, I prefer the hophornbeam.
I mean, who wants a hornbeam that just sits there?
I find it’s true that Nature abhors a vacuum – –
ambling along, pretty much totally vacant of thought,
so Nature provided a little wake-up call – –
two ruffed grouse, alway wiseguys, suddenly shot up,
like whirring rockets.
I’ve never gotten a picture of a grouse,
just a few minor heart attacks,
when they suddenly blast off,
three feet in front of my face.
We’d gone into a stretch of hemlocks, where it’s always a bit darker,
and getting along toward sundown,
so we’d decided to head back, while we could still see the trail.
But first we walked just a bit down the hill,
to listen to the creek,
and look at the tiny waterfalls.
And found a shrine-like assemblage of pebbles on the bank.
Little heart-shaped stones were tucked every which way into crevices.
I know, damn hippies.
This won’t gladden the hearts of most hikers I know,
who are fundamentally opposed to leaving any alteration or trace of human activity in the woods.
And humans being humans, they kinda overdid things,
maybe just a tad,
so it ended up looking like a Neolithic dump,
just after Valentine’s Day in the Stone Age.
But there were no beer cans, cigarette butts, or shell casings,
and to be honest,
I kind of got a kick out of this particular little display of weirdness.
Upon reflection, as they say…
I’d prepared an angry political diatribe after the election, but decided, upon reflection, to post a pretty postcard from my home, New York, instead.
The Botanic Gardens are part of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and until a recent PC name-change, were called “Cornell Plantations”.
Despite hearing his name all my life, I don’t know much about Ezra Cornell, but he seems like a pretty stand-up guy.
A “self-made man,” he started out as a humble carpenter. Then a traveling plow salesman (on foot! I guess he’d never get lost, he could just follow the furrow home), went on to help found Western Union and Cornell University, and was a generous philanthropist. Kicked out of his church when he married for love, a woman from “outside of the faith”.
While not an abolitionist, he was a Republican politician, at a time when that party was opposed to slavery and oppression.
This photo is not retouched. It looks a bit like the way I pictured Heaven, when I was a little kid, or at least, heaven for some well-mannered denomination, maybe one that doesn’t cast out people like Ezra Cornell, for marrying a Methodist!
I guess, if you’d been really good, there’d be a golf course, too.
And maybe an ice cream stand.
Otherwise, a pretty heavenly spot.