HOW GREEN WAS OUR VALLEY, — The Delaware Valley

When I reflect on the spring nearly past, all I see is grey  — in skies and clouds, in ceaseless chill rains, in blinding fogs, and in my own imprisoned mood.  However, there were excursions, stolen between the raindrops, which reveal the incredible bounty of the Delaware Valley.

Thanks to courageous women, this preserve was saved for all time, to showcase the rarest wildflowers which belong in all the woods and all along the banks of our beloved Delaware River.

BOWMAN’S HILL WILDFLOWER PRESERVE

below New Hope, PA

Toad Trillim

Toad Trillium Among the Bluebells, Bowman’s, April 2016

Celandine and Bluebells by the Creek

Celandine and Bluebells line trail along PIdcock Creek

Stroll with me on the well-tended trails, beautifully restored after Hurricane Sandy’s depredations — so very far from the sea of its birth.  Open all your senses, as the work week, this techno-century rarely permit.  Inhale the very fecundity of the good earth, celebrated so brilliantly by Pennsylvania’s Pearl S. Buck.  Let your ears learn your first phoebe!, phoebe!; the purrrrrr of red-bellied woodpeckers in healthily aged trees; the scree! of a single red-tailed hawk high above the almost leafed-out canopy.  Absorb quintessential tranquillity, where the creek’s murmurs and whispers call you ever more deeply into the sacred woods.Bluebell Sea

Bluebell Sea, Where I Usually Begin my Bowman’s Explorations

It’s worth doing Bowman’s for the Medicinal Trail alone.  There I first heard and almost saw the pileated woodpecker dive from tree to tree.  There a young boy, –thrilled as I to watch spring’s first garter snakes unwind from winter’s tangle–, splashed into the creek to save a snake who’d tumbled in.  Along the creek, forest monarchs rest, Sandy-felled, roots taller than two or three humans standing on one another’s shoulders.  I always thank their majesties for their time here.

On the Medicinal Trail’s Bridge, a man and woman told me they’d just seen the (can it be?!) Louisiana Waterthrush.  All three of us watched a slender dark furry being curl and curve above the rocks, along the bank.  It was so at home, so sure in its hunting.  And we remained unsure whether it was mink or marten.  Above all, Medicinal Trail holds trillium of many hues and funny names.  No one can ever explain the name of the tight red one above (which never opens farther), somehow christened “Toad”.

First White Trilliujm

Virginal White Trillium

I’m always so pleased with the wondrous work of Staff and energetic, consummately generous Bowman’s volunteers.  Most invasives have been mastered.  Trails are well marked, well tended, pretty and inviting.  Boardwalks lead over (increasingly) wet spots.  Their gift shop is tasteful, gift-wise, and irresistible book-wise.  Whoever’s at the desk, usually a volunteer, is always happy to see each visitor and eager to serve.

White Trillium Close-Up

Shy Trillium

My only quarrel is that there is no sign on the Medicinal Trail, instructing the un-knowing, such as I, in what each rarity was used to treat — most likely discovered by local Lenapes, long before the concept of fenced preservation came into being.

Take yourself to Bowman’s in all seasons.  Ideal habitat for birds, for plants from anemone and twinleaf and bloodroot to prickly pear; and for voyagers, seeking an idyllic world – such as all of America was before we arrived, carrying with us the Anthropocene and all its losses and perils.

Become a Bowman’s member.  Join their invasive-pulling volunteers.  Attend their black tie and muck boots spring gala.  And murmur thanks to those wise early women who knew that saving beauty of this magnitude is essential to the human spirit.

NEW PHOTOS SENT FOR BLOG FROM BRENDA JONES, Fine Art Photographer

My dear friend and superb photographer, Brenda Jones, sends these images of a mink and a waterthrush, found nearby (to Princeton), and therefore likely at Bowman’s.  Enjoy her unique artistry!

Waterthrush with larvae by Brenda Jones

Waterthrush with Larvae by Brenda Jones

 

MinkMillstoneAqueduct by Brenda Jones

Mink, Millstone Aqueduct, by Brenda Jones

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REMEMBERING SUNSHINE: Cape Cod Glimpses

Authentic Chatham at Fish Pier

Authentic Chatham, Massachusetts – At the Fish Pier, Looking Out to Sea

When I was a child, my nickname was “Sunshine”.  I have always needed a great deal of sun and light and fire, –partly because of my Sagittarius birth sign.

Strange Encounters Chatham Fish Pier

Gull and Seal in Chatham Sun

I feel like starting this blog post with a strict dull dictionary definition of “sun”, because I have so little experience of it any more.

Fair Weather and Foul at Chatham Light

Elusive Sun, Chatham, Mass., Chatham Light

Webster’s Unabridged, of course:  “The star that is the central body of the solar system.”

Well, that doesn’t do it for me: does it for you?

Provincetown Mac Millan Wharf Reflections Black and Grey

Sun Caught in Water, Provincetown’s MacMillan Wharf

“Sun” – that flat round disk formerly to be discovered in daytime sky (day – between dawn and dusk), sky formerly blue.  That spill of gold upon a carpet or a table, warming twice — in the sky, where it belongs; and as it reflects off indoor surfaces.  And always, always warming my heart.

Provincetown Mac Millan Wharf Reflections Red Boat

Proud Reflections, MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown

Except there isn’t any sun any more.  Nor blue sky.

Danger Rough Chatham

Danger, Rough, Chatham, Mass.

Just some grey-white substance all over what used to be sky — clots that remind me of the inside of my mother’s Electrolux bag.

Tethered Tower  Chatham Scenes 002

Tethered Tower, Chatham, Mass.

I know what’s happened to sun.  It’s called fossil fuel / emissions / catastrophic climate change / disaster / the Antrhopocene.

Provincetown Mac Millan Wharf Reflections Green and Grey

Tangled Tower, Provincetown

My antidote to sun-deprivation is memory.

Chatham Pier Fish Market Sign

Chatham Pier Fish Market

Here’s to Cape Cod at Hallowe’en, when sunlight spilled everywhere, from dunes to shells to whales and seals to fish in the sea and in a splendid market and all along weathered clapboard shingles.

Typical Chatham Cottage

Typical Chatham Cottage

 

Warming both heart and my soul.  May these scenes warm YOURS.

Perry's Pride Chatham Fish Pier

Perry’s Pride, Chatham Fish Pier

 

Sharks to Market Chatham Fish Pier

Heart of the Matter at Chatham Pier

Provincetown Mac Millan Wharf Then and Now

Harbormaster, with Sun Glint, Provincetown

Provincetown Mac Millan Wharf Rowing Home

Provincetown, Rowing Home