Art Drop Off and Beaver Pond and Secret Ambition #2 Update

This post is written in segments. Different things are going on in my everyday world.

First thing: On August 19 I set a tiny figurine in the information kiosk at the Moredon Road intersection of the Pennypack Trail. I’ve used this spot quite often.

At this intersection, across the trail, here are these giant flowers in bloom. They are part of the garden the head ranger’s wife maintains.

Second thing: Today, on August 20, I visited the beaver pond. I went on a full moon walk last week on a beautiful summer night with a group at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust and the topic of the beavers came up. The parents had two babies this year, according to the tour guide – and… there is a beaver cam set up to observe the lodge. In the future we might get to see footage from the beavers’ home – but not right now while they are living there, so as not to reveal the location of the lodge and put the beavers in danger from humans.

Here are some views of their domain on this late August day. We are beginning to see a little bit of fall in these scenes now.

Third thing: My Secret Ambition to run one more half-marathon is not going to come true. About three weeks ago I noticed the first signs of a stress fracture in my right foot – a bruise on the top of the foot and pain in a specific site on a metatarsal bone. I’ve had a stress fracture before and in that case, I ran through this stage, not knowing what the signs meant, and went on to have a much more serious case resulting in wearing a boot for 12 weeks.

So, the Ambition has topped out at 8.5 miles. I’ve rested the foot and this week went back to light running (the bruise is gone and there is no pain). So far so good. I’m still happy with the results: I got back into running shape, I did a very respectable distance, and I feel certain I will easily be able to maintain two-four weekly runs of 4-5 miles each. That’s fine with me.

In the end, I’m glad I’m still on my feet and moving.

Fourth thing: Speaking of moving, remember the Little Not Traveling Man from a week or two ago? In my stop at the beaver pond, I checked his site.

It looks like he has moved on. Best wishes in his new life!


Art Drop-Off and a Glimpse of a Fairy Tale

I walked along the Pennypack Trail on August 14 very early in the morning. I’ll show you three things that happened along this way.

First happening, art drop off. I set a very tiny figurine inside one of the train control boxes. I’ve used this site many times before.


And here you see it in perspective with its surroundings. You can’t hear it, but a low steady rumble of thunder was going on in the background, the kind that leads to nothing but does lend a certain atmosphere to a walk…

Pennypack trail 8-14-19 #1a3

Happening number 2: I walked down into the picnic grounds and swung by the ranger cabin. No one was inside at the time, so I could take a good look. It’s such a perfect little camp building, very typical of a certain style of park architecture of the past:

Ranger cabin Lorimer #2 8-192


I pressed the camera against the glass of the door and got a pretty good shot of the inside:


Ranger cabin Lorimer #1 8-191


Now, happening number 3. This one is almost a fairy tale come to life. Pictures first:


Yes, a white deer!

In the spring, I think, one of the rangers pointed this deer out to me – I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Since then I have not seen him, and he has changed – now he has his antlers. He was also with a brown deer when I saw him the first time, but I do not know if this is the same one.

This sliver of wilderness along the Pennypack Creek has many surprises; I’ve seen a bald eagle, turtles, heard the songs of frogs, and of course, you know about the beaver pond about 2 miles away. A white deer, though, I think that is a fairy tale story waiting to be told.

I’ve made a little slideshow of the above photos to mimic the way I saw it.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Art Drop-Off and a Trip Down Memory Lane

Sometimes you get a craving for some nostalgia. Or maybe you’re just curious about what has happened at a site very familiar to you in the past since you left. Anyway, that feeling came to me last weekend.

For my college education, I went to Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA, graduating almost 40 years ago. I lived nearby for some time and then moved to the area where I now am, about 40 minutes or so from the campus. Not much of a distance, but I live in the suburbs of a big city. Everything I need is located very close to me and I don’t stray out of my orbit unless I have a specific idea, since my daily needs are taken care of near home.

My husband has a new job, however, and the office is near the college. I’ve returned to the “old neighborhood” with him a couple of times and we decided to take a walk on the campus this past weekend, August 11. I would say it has been about 4-5 years since I was last there.

So off we went on a beautiful day. The campus was deserted and we had plenty of time and solitude to look around.

Bryn Mawr College has been in existence since the 1880’s and is now and has always been devoted to women’s education. I credit the college with setting the course of my adult life and of course I have many memories of my years there.

From the exterior things look much the same as when I was in attendance. Many renovations have been done to interiors, as you would think for a school with many buildings 100+ years old.

I took along a small clay animal to leave on campus.

Clay Animal 8-1912

I set him on a low wall just inside Pembroke Arch. The library is in the background.

BMC 8-10-19 #1111

And some more shots for a wider view:

One more shot from inside the campus looking out through the Arch:

BMC 8-10-19 #3a3

We had a nice visit, checking out campus sights, and in particular we spent a good bit of time talking to a current student who was working at the desk in the (deserted) library. I enjoyed comparing notes with her. We found many things are the same now as forty years ago. A nice sense of continuity for me.

Art Drop-Off August and a Poem-Inspiring Experience

All right. More art along the Pennypack Trail.

On August 8, I walked on the trail, and as always I pass through the intersection of Fetters Mill Road and the trail at the Bryn Athyn Post Office. Remember, the trail used to be a rail line and the post office is a former train station. So this little intersection was a tiny crossroads back in the past.

Now the traffic consists mostly of trail-goers. Especially now, since the small bridge over the Pennypack Creek is closed for (future) repairs or replacement.

bridge at PP 8-19 view across17

I don’t know when the work will begin but I hear there is a plan and a budget. All right. Until then, it makes the area a little more peaceful not to have any cars passing through.

On this day I decided to walk across the bridge. I left the trail, turned left, and started along.

As you can see, the deck of the bridge is open metal mesh.

PO 8-8-19 bridge 24

Oh, I don’t like walking on such a surface. I have to look down to keep my balance and seeing the reflections of the water below – not something I like.

The view of the creek is lovely, though.

view from bridge PP trail 8-1918

At the other end of the bridge are a few houses and a sharp curve. If you drive on this road, you are taking your time and watching out so as not to hit a house or stone wall.

view far side of bridge PP trail 8-1916

I decided to leave the little cat figurine on the barrier on this end of the bridge.

I stepped back for a longer view of the scene.

PP trail bridge tiny landscape site #3 8-194

Then back I went.

view across bridge looking at PP trail 8-1915

Now you may be wondering about the poetry aspect of this trip. Well, if you follow my poetry blog you know I spend a designated time each week writing (as well as when I feel like it, but I have made an appointment with myself each week for writing, also).

In my most recent session I reflected on the experience of walking on this bridge. Here’s the initial version of this poem – waiting for editing, yes, but I think you will get the feel for what I meant when I said I didn’t like walking on the mesh deck.

I shiver
halfway across the bridge
open metal lattice for a deck
the shiny water reflecting up
from below. I see trees
wavering in the current
I feel the flicker of them
in my stomach.
I slide my feet along on top of the trees
the knobbly grate
grabbing the soles of my shoes and
I know I know
I will fall through
any one of these four-inch grid sections
that cares to take me each one
a vortex pulling down hard

It’s too much. I veer to the rail
sweep my hand along the scabby metal
sharp rust flakes line up in my palm
in time with my steps and
I don’t care as long as
if only
I can get across this bridge

There you have it, the whole thing, words, art, and photos. Thank you for going along with me.

Beaver Pond and a Little Not Traveling Man

This story began some time ago when beavers created a pond in the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust – a place where I go to walk or run.

First, how about a few photos of the pond. You’ll enjoy seeing the scenery change and yet remain the same. Here’s one from April, 2019.

Pennypack eco preserve 4-19-19 (4)

From Creek Road, April 2019

This group of shots were all taken from about the same place on the intersecting trail to Creek Road – so this is around the corner from the first shot above.

I set a little figurine on the signpost at Creek Road on June 22.

He was still there on August 7.

art drop off beaver pond 8-7-19 #11

Normally I’d be sad that no one had picked him up. But just look at this little guy. He’s nothing but cheerful, isn’t he? He looks just about as happy as a figurine can be and I’d say he is someone who has found a place he really likes. He hasn’t gone away yet because he doesn’t want to.

I smiled right back at him. He made my day and I can’t really tell you why. I guess it is the idea of contentment.

I wish him well in his little environment on top of the post next to the pond. When I come by here and he is gone,  I will know it is because he was ready to take that smile to a new place.

Story of a Little Traveling Man

Here’s an art drop-off story with several chapters.

Let’s start. On July 31, I chose these two little guys to go with me to the Pennypack Trail.

Small clay tube creatures


I set them on a bench at about the 3.0 mile marker.


A couple of days later, on August 1, I came by. They had changed positions, meaning someone had picked them up to look at them but had not taken them along. And, you may notice, they had spent a night out in the rain.

Art drop off 8-1-19 #25

The next day, August 2, I stopped by and the yellow man had gone but the blue guy was still waiting.

Art drop off 8-2 #14


The bench he’d been occupying is set in a dark shady section of the trail and since the figurine was dark in color,  he didn’t stand out as the yellow fellow had. I picked him up, put him in my belt pack, and decided to transport him to a more visible spot.

Took me a few days but I set him on another bench just up the trail, near the intersection with the road near the post office, the Little Free Library, and the food truck that parks in a lot across the street. Sunny, and lots of people come by here, I thought.

Here he is on August 7.

All right. I admit to being in the area on August 8, but I forgot to check on him. So the final chapter of his journeys is still open. I’ll let you know what happens.

Art Drop-Off July 29; Poison Ivy; Running.

Here’s a multiple-purpose post for you today. Let’s start with Poison Ivy. As in, my terrific case of the affliction. It all started on July 17 when I took it into my head to get a start on cutting out a huge bush (which turned out to be more than one, just to give me some extra credit). In my arrogance, I figured that even though my husband told me to watch out for the poison ivy he’d seen in the area, well, that poison ivy would not dare to come near me.

Wrong. I’ve been living in itchy miserable discomfort for the past two weeks – I had not islands, but continents, of blisters, in oceans of reddened swollen skin, and did I mention the itching? Good thing is, looks like I’m turning the corner – things are on the mend, rather than building up. What a relief.

I’ve written a lot of words here with no pictures. Well, you don’t want to look at pictures of my poison ivy injuries, do you?

Now to the next topic. My Secret Ambition Half-Marathon was put on hold for the past couple of weeks as well. And you know, if there had to be a Poison Ivy Interlude, well, this was a good time for it – it’s been very hot and sticky, the kind of weather that is difficult and sometimes dangerous to run in. It’s likely I would have cut down my exercise over these weeks anyway.

Now. I did a little walking last week. And now, I’m back on the Pennypack Trail as of this week. I’m going to do some 5 mile runs this week and then next week see if I can repeat the 8.5 miles I was up to. So far so good – I did 5 miles this morning and 4 yesterday.

And yesterday, I celebrated getting out in the park again with an art drop off – two tiles on the bench at the (anticipated) finish line of the Secret Ambition Half-Marathon. Back on  July 15 I left these two tiles there, and they are gone now:

Here is the same scene yesterday, with two new tiles:

And a funny thing… I ran the same route today as yesterday and passed this site. When I checked the bench, the tiles were still there but they had been turned over. I am puzzled as to why, of course. I reflected on the uncertainty and randomness of what happens to my art that I leave out in the world – people inspect it, move it, it falls on the ground and is covered by leaves…once I let go of it, it has its own unpredictable experiences that I can only imagine.

Happy Tuesday!

A Couple of Late July Art Drop-offs

I’ve got a couple of tiles set in places in my neighborhood to show you. If you read my other blogs, you may know I have a first-class case of poison ivy, acquired when I took on the task of removing some bushes in my yard. Eek, it’s been a trial, this poison ivy thing, and I haven’t had my usual energy or gone out of the house much in the last week, until Wednesday, July 24.

It’s also been very hot the last week or so, but we’re experiencing a more temperate spell, so I thought I’d get out and walk some to begin to get back on my exercise schedule. Here are my two drop-off sessions described.

On July 24, I walked from my house to the Glenside train station, about 1.5 miles away, and then wandered around the immediate neighborhood, then home. This territory is familiar to me, every step of it, since I have lived in this vicinity for 27 years. But there is always something new to see. Here are a couple of window fronts. The second one is from the pest control company that is going to visit my home and delete a nest of yellow jackets in my charcoal grill. How’s that for drama?

Here are a few images of the Glenside train station activity and surroundings:

I set the tile on the railing of the overpass – it crosses Easton Road, looking south in this view. The train station is behind the trees on the right side.

Someone will find it soon, I think. The platform gets crowded at commuter time.

On July 25, I took a different route. I headed toward the Jenkintown train station, one stop closer into the city, and very near to our previous house (when we moved in 2003, we only went one mile…) Anyway, I didn’t go to the station, but instead veered back into the neighborhood. I left the tile on a bench at Thomas Williams Park.

Art drop off 7-25-19 (5)

Here it is in place.

You might say, what is this place? Well, it’s the former site of a junior high school, but it was torn down before I came on the scene and now it’s a small park named for the school. What you were seeing in the previous photos was the former approach to the main entrance. Now the site holds tennis courts, tot lot, and a soccer/lacrosse field.

Art drop off 7-25-19 (1)

By today’s standards, the acreage is too small for a school and being in the middle of the neighborhood there was no place to expand. Now the kids go to a combined middle school built in the 1970’s but recently rehabbed in an extensive project that essentially built a new school. How time passes and things evolve – this site tells that story, too.

All right, that’s it for today’s drop-offs, and now you know a little more about my own locality and my place in it.

Art Drop-Off 7/15/19, Running, and A New Secret Ambition Revealed

Lots going on in this post. I’ll start right in. First of all, I was running this morning on the Pennypack Rail Trail. The tiles from the drop-off I made on July 10 (and forgot to check on the other day) – they are gone. Good news!

Next. As I said, I was running on the trail this morning and I left these two tiles on the bench near the 3.0 mile marker:

Clay tile art drop off 7-15-19 #12

And next. I want to tell you about my latest Secret Ambition and what I am doing to achieve it.

Remember my previous Secret Ambition? Handwriting improvement. A little over two years ago, I bought a workbook and retaught myself to write. I had always been ashamed of my penmanship and I realized – I could make a change. I’ve stayed with it and people tell me I have nice handwriting fairly regularly now. It’s a small thing, but I love the way my written works look and I’m glad I did it.

Now to the new idea I’ve been working on. As you know, I’ve been running for about ten years. I was pretty fast and ran quite a few 5K’s along with a few races at longer distances. Then illness, injuries, surgeries, and other life events got in the way. It seemed to me that every time I’d try to get back to my running form, something would happen (such as a stress fracture in my left foot in 2015 that took me out for the whole summer).

Wms Dist Fest 10-09 #7 (12)4

October, 2009. I am the one wearing a pink shirt.

Not to mention I’m getting older by the minute and that’s not helping things!

This year, I was determined to return to running. But, I needed to take into account my changed circumstances. I gave the matter some thought. What do I like about running? Well, it’s being outside, and it’s focusing, and it’s enjoying being on the move. It doesn’t matter to me how fast I go anymore, just that I am…going.

Tyler Arboretum 4-09 Claudia stream crossing2

April, 2009. I never back away from a stream crossing. That’s me in the pink shirt.

I also like having a goal. I’m patient and I stick with things, and I enjoy working through increments of progress that might bore others. So…I decided I would train for a half-marathon, 13.1 miles.

I’ve done one, a race in 2011, in Allentown, PA. It took me a little over two hours to complete the distance. Things are going to be different this time, though. After some thought, here’s my plan:

  • I’m going be the only participant in my race, just me and the Pennypack rail trail. In other words, I am not shooting for an official race. I’m going to be the race. By doing this I take the pressure off myself to meet a deadline and maybe push myself harder or faster than I should. And if (crossing fingers) I need to amend things because of physical limitations, well, I can do so.
  • I do have a floating deadline for when I want to run the official race – I am thinking October or November. The weather will be good for a long run at that time. As I get closer, I will narrow down the dates until I meet my training distance goal and can choose the race day for sure. And this way, I do not have to run in the rain or cold or wind or…
  • Confession: I started working on this plan in April, and I’m just now getting more confidence I can actually do it. But it’s not a sure thing. I need to move ahead slowly. And I need to understand my limitations and respect them, however that turns out.
  • Running – let’s define running. In my race, it means I run more than 50% of the distance, but that I keep moving (no sitting on a bench). My plan is to walk one minute, run three minutes. That’s what I’ve been training.
  • Goal distance in training – I feel I need to be able to run 11 miles in one session. If I can do that, I can do the whole thing. As of today, I am up to 8.5 miles, having started off in April with 2 miles.
  • Training – one long run a week toward the goal distance – the other days run shorter distances with less walking/ walk at a fast pace/ go to the gym and take a class/ mow the grass. See, training is kind of fluid, right?! Just keep moving.

That is me in a pink shirt. Again. I do like pink, it looks like. Trail run, fall 2011.

  • I chose the Pennypack rail trail because
    • I like it
    • it’s not flat, but because it was built for trains, the inclines are long and gradual and not too taxing, and then on the return trip, that means there are some lovely long downhill sections.
    • there are bathrooms along the trail (more important than you might think, this amenity)
    • it’s laid out well for a long run (round trip 10.5 miles) and so I won’t have to repeat much of the same ground
    • it is shady and the gravel surface is kind to feet and legs
    • I like it.
  • I have no time goal. Finishing is the goal (even if I crawl over the finish line). I think I can count on it taking about 3 hours. That is a long time to be moving and that’s why I need to build up my strength slowly to be able to take the pounding on my joints and muscles.
finish 7-4-17 #56

5K, July 4, 2017. What, no pink shirt?

All right. Now I have told you about this ambition. I will write updates here and there if there is anything interesting to say. I approach this process with a sense of realism – completion of the run is not a certainty. But I am really enjoying hoping to do so.

And – note to self – I must think about what the race T-shirt will look like and think about getting it made! It is safe to say I will be seriously considering pink.


Here is where I set the little tiles today. My tentative race route has me finishing at the 3.0 mile marker (yellow arrow). The tiles are on the bench a few yards past the “finish line” (white arrow) – you’re looking back down the trail where I came from.

Clay tile art drop off 7-15-19 #21



A Short Tour and an Art Drop-Off Update

On July 10 I walked along the Pennypack rail trail and left these items on a bench near the 2.0 mile marker:


On this same day, I took some photos of the 1.5 mile stretch between the Welsh Road parking lot (where I often start) and the Moredon Road crossing. This distance lies between mile markers 2.5 (Welsh Road) to 1.0 (Moredon Road). Just thought you might like to see some of my daily scenery and get some of the personality of this section of the trail.

All right. Here we go. After less than a quarter mile, the trail crosses an active commuter rail line that runs between Philadelphia and West Trenton, New Jersey. There is a crossing gate there and people patiently wait for trains to cross when it comes down. I am always surprised how everyone obeys the gate – it is possible to see the trains in the distance and you could easily gauge your chances of going across and making it.

I think everyone feels as I do. What if I fall down or something, and the train smushes me? I would not like that. So I wait.

Here is the view inbound to Philadelphia:


and outbound. The Huntingdon Valley station is at that overpass.


The gates were up so I crossed and went on. The trail runs along the Pennypack Creek – in some sections it’s almost a straight drop down to the water. It’s hard for me to show you but I’ll try. Here is a view looking straight out from the trail. Notice I am at the level of higher branches in the trees.


Now I point the camera down.


Take my word for it. It’s a long rough stretch down through the undergrowth if you happen to go off the trail here.

I continued on to Moredon Road. There is a pedestrian crossing for us trail users and in recent months a stop sign has been put in, so now it’s much easier to cross the road in traffic.


I turned around to retrace my steps – I’ve walked a mile and a half.  See those cones and that mulch pile?


Go a little further…


Now the ranger’s house comes into view.

I’ll explain what interests me here. This house is residence of the head ranger for the park. His wife has created this wonderful garden along this section of the trail, the work of at least 6 or more years. It has blooms all spring and summer – right now it’s big on pink coneflowers and bee balm. Also, notice the Little Free Library. It’s been here for some years now, too. The ranger told me they had made it for his wife for a birthday present because she loves to read. As a note, there are two more LFL’s further up the trail – they are the service project of a local high school senior.

Continue along the trail and you’ll see the work barn for the park. The garden is still running beside the trail.

A little bit more walking and I have come to the end of the garden. Here I’ve turned around to look back.


All right. I headed back toward the car. Along the way I noticed that the wild raspberries are really coming into their own. They are pesky and intrusive growers in the wrong place but here in the park, this is the right place. People bring baskets and pick them – if you walk the whole trail you can get a load of them without even going off the trail. It’s safe to eat them because no spraying is done along here.


All right. Now I’ll give you an update on the art drop offs. Here they were on the bench:

and…I ran along the trail this morning, July 12, meaning to look for them, but…I forgot! Hard to believe, but I ran right past the bench and wasn’t thinking about them. So I don’t know if they are still there or not. I’ll look the next time I’m on the trail.

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