Time Passes

I was walking in the Pennypack Ecological preserve today, a place I haven’t been for some time. Now, let me explain – I walk on the Pennypack Rail Trail, paralleling the Pennypack Creek, almost every day. It’s a wide, easy-to-navigate trail and follows the old rail line. Across the creek lies the Pennypack Ecological preserve. It can be accessed from the rail trail by two bridges.

The preserve is criss-crossed by a network of footpaths, quite rough, most of them, and there is one main trail, a former road now in disrepair. I crossed the creek from the rail trail to the preserve side, intending to walk along the road and re-cross later at the other bridge.

I took a whole adventurous walk, but I’ll tell more about that later on. For now, I wanted to mention this sight. In April, 2015, I took these photos of a toppled uprooted tree located right beside the trail. The overturning of this tree was quite recent.

Now in October 2016, take a look. Here is visible evidence of time passing.


The roots are now wearing a wig of fast-growing vines.

a little nervously

a little nervously

a little nervously

I would not

I would not

I would not

I Am a Genius

Yes, I am. And here’s why.

My husband needed some official sleepwear, to stop him from wearing his “regular” T-shirts. He’s not a pajama top guy although he likes the flannel pants and shorts I bought him some time back.

I am of the belief that there are purposes, or life events, or activities, and that there are clothes for each one of them. That thought fits my need for order in the world. After all, you wear a swim suit to swim, and so on. This line of thought reminds me of a skating skirt outfit my mother made me, in about 1968, to wear to a roller skating party. The skirt was blue on the outside with red gingham checked fabric on the underside, with matching shorts and top. When you twirled around the skirt would flare out and show the fancier fabric. I felt just right, though my skating skills really didn’t permit me to do any twirling. More like falling. But I was dressed for the occasion, that’s what made it all work.

So a person needs sleep T-shirts. I decided to upgrade my husband’s wardrobe and correct this deficiency, unaware of it as he was. I bought 5 black T-shirts.

Then, to stop him from wearing them as regular T-shirts, I stenciled them. Now things are as they should be, and the sleeping world is back in balance. Even better, my husband likes the shirts!

in narrow streets

in narrow streets

in narrow streets

Off the Beaten Path

When we were in Reading, PA, a few weeks ago to visit the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, I noticed a small green building set in a tiny cemetery, right up beside the highway, as we were speeding along toward home. We’d never noticed it before, and we said – we have to try to take a look at that next time we’re here.

So, that next time was yesterday – we were visiting Goggleworks again, for their annual art festival. On the way home, we zipped off the highway exit and found the spot very easily – just a few yards down the road. We parked the car along the street and walked over – along a portion of the Schuylkill Trail that happens to pass by it.


Sure enough, there sat the brick building inside a stone wall along with an assortment of gravestones. Before we worked our way down the white-painted timbers that served as steps down the slight slope, we looked at the marker. Hmmm. Already we could tell this place had a story.


The gist of it was this: the Fix-Gerber-Bittner families established this cemetery in the early 1800’s. It was much larger than the present plot when it started out. But as time passed, it almost seemed as if this little bit of ground had a bull’s eye on it. Industrial developments all took pieces away from it. Graves were moved, somewhat carelessly, too, it seems. This small place is all that’s left. It’s essentially ownerless, now that the families are defunct.

So we went in for a closer look, down the steep steps.


We examined the building first. It had nothing to do with the cemetery – according to what I read later, it was built in the 1870’s or so by a friend of one of the families, to store dynamite (because it was outside city limits, where there was apparently a restriction on such a thing).


I examined the walls of the building – the layers of peeling paint speak to a long time it has been sitting out in all weathers.

It seems incongruous, at the least,  for such a destructive agent as dynamite to take up residence in a place full of the hopes for eternal rest. I reflected on this idea a bit as we walked around the cemetery.

Another factor mitigating against eternal rest is the highway’s neighborly presence. Neighborly in the sense of – a loud intruding kind of neighbor.

We walked around. The cemetery has friends – it is being cared for by the Oddfellows in Shillington, PA.


The grass is mowed and everything is neat. But the ravages of time are apparent. There are pieces of headstones separated from their graves, and my later reading told me that it’s suspected there are unmarked graves as a result of the carelessness of those who moved graves to accommodate the various canal and highway projects. Weather has also done damage – I have noticed that marble headstones do not stand up to the years as well as granite. Inscriptions fade and melt away.

This monument commemorates several people who served in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. I know this because I checked the dates on the flags – these flag markers specify the conflict served in by each veteran as they are being honored.


This marker is the footstone to the grave of a very young person.


We left the cemetery and climbed the small hill, back up to the road. This little place gave me a lot to think about. For one thing, how unimaginable this world of today would have been to the founders of this cemetery, and what sadness they might have felt at seeing their family resting spot, thought to be forever, so vulnerable.

But I hope that they might have also seen that there are still people who care. This cemetery has friends – the Oddfellows, and the Berks County Association for Graveyard Preservation.  The grounds are neat and veterans are honored. There is talk of highway construction that could affect the cemetery, but people are sticking up for it, according to a recent article in the Reading Eagle. That made me feel good. So much has changed in 200 years for this cemetery, but people still think it’s important not to forget those who were here before us.


Good-bye and Hello

I tend to want to make friends with all around me, including pretty much every inanimate object in my everyday life. Especially the objects I live with. So when our stove, after 13 years, was no longer able to do the job, I wish there had been a retirement option, where it could have had a nice rest somewhere after all these years of baking and boiling and so on. But that’s not how it works. I need an oven that heats up, and a stove of this age is not worth fixing. The fact that most of it works still doesn’t keep it in service.


So we bought a new stove. The old one left first. I felt sad, thinking about how much time I had spent with this stove. And I remember when we bought it, brand-new. It was the first stove I had ever chosen and made no compromises about. The glass cooktop, the nice black color, the simple controls (I didn’t want many options) – all just right.

The deliveryman for the new stove was amused as he disconnected the old one. I guess most people don’t show sadness at the departure of an appliance.

The new one came in, showing no shyness. It slid right into the space where the old one had been. Even looks pretty much exactly the same. Well, that’s a good thing.


I don’t know why I feel a bit upset about this change. Maybe it’s because I still thought of the old stove as brand new, as just having moved in with us a little while ago. I remember my pleasure when I first started cooking on it – it suited me perfectly. I felt I’d done a little something about ordering my world, cooking on this stove. Where did the 13 years go so quickly?

Maybe that’s it.

Well, hello, new stove, I am sure we’ll get along fine and learn each other’s ways very soon. Good-bye, old stove, and thank you.

Red Feather. And More.

Once in a while I get it into my head that I want to do something extreme. Now, being a cautious person, middle-aged, and with arthritis in her feet, crazy eyesight, and a fear of heights, that means you aren’t going to be reading about me bungee-jumping. Or jumping off the high dive. Or jumping off  – the sidewalk curb. Don’t even mention sky-diving.

No, today, doing something extreme meant I decided to walk all 10 miles of the Pennypack Trail through Rockledge/Huntingdon Valley/Bryn Athyn/Lower Moreland. It’s a 5 mile trail, so making the loop is – ten!

I  parked the car at Welsh Road. This place is the mid-point of the trail. I planned it so that I could pass the car halfway through the walk and stop and get a drink, etc. First I walked toward Rockledge, 2.5 miles away. Lots of people out today – the weather is cool and breezy. On the way I met up with my trail friends Alan and Stu, but they were finishing up so we did not walk together very long.

I stopped at the car, refueled, and set off toward Huntingdon Valley, 2.5 miles away. The day grew a little grayer.


I tend to walk looking at the ground quite a bit, due to my eyesight and my uncertain depth perception. And I saw…


…this red feather. Lying to the side of the trail, just waiting for me. I picked it up and put it between the pages of my little notebook that I carry in my belt pack.

Immediately afterwards, I saw these…


What a beautiful group. Clustered together like this, they almost seemed to have arranged themselves for maximum show-off.

Red feather. Toadstools. I felt as if I might be entering a fairy tale…Magic!

to keep safe.

to keep safe

to keep safe.

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