Tiny Travelogue

I don’t go far from home. I don’t travel much. I like being home. And lucky for me there is a seemingly endless supply of things to explore right under my (geographic) nose.

Today we decided to explore the Morris Arboretum. It was established on the grounds of Compton, the summer home owned by the wealthy Morris family starting in 1887, who collected plants and were interested in furthering horticultural education; it is now part of the University of Pennsylvania. Not located near the main campus, though – it is only about 15 minutes from my house.

We became members not too long ago – I thought it might be a good place for walking, especially for my husband, as he continues to gain strength after his knee injury. Believe it or not, in almost 40 years of living close by, I had never visited the site, though I had often thought of doing so in recent times, because I drive past it on my way to Chestnut Hill College (of poetry marathon fame!) all the time.

It is expensive for a single visit, but a membership could pay off for the two of us after three visits – and being members makes a quick stop just for a walk much more likely. I signed us up. ┬áToday was a reconnaissance mission.

It was a stunning day – sunny, warm, and low humidity. We parked in the lower lot – other people had the same idea as us to visit the gardens on such a nice day – and walked up the hill to the main building. I noticed I could see the roofs of Chestnut Hill College across the way – it is next door.

We walked around the upper areas following paved paths past manicured lawns and many trees. I found some details interesting:

Small structures dotted the area as well as sculptures:

There were other attractions, such as a garden railway exhibit and a treehouse/walkway structure; fernery; rose garden. Today, these areas were crowded with families; even if they hadn’t been, they didn’t much appeal to me. If this had been all there was to the place, I would have been lukewarm on it. I will say, though, the level paths would make a nice circuit for an easy walk (or run, if you came on a non-crowded day).

We made our way back down the hill to the wetlands area. This section was deserted and quiet. Just birds, insects, trees…

Now I was interested. Look at this milkweed.

A bee was working very industriously at this flower head.

This dead tree’s stark appearance amid all the greenery made it a landmark.

Mowed paths guided us through this section. There was so much to look at.

My assessment of the arboretum: I thought the main area tame and uninteresting. The wetlands, fantastic. I could see visiting that section often just to see the changes in the landscape. I much prefer walking on grass to asphalt. Wilder to manicured. Full of detail to edited. I’ll come back and concentrate my attention on this area, I think.

It would be a great spot for a walk after a poetry marathon session or for my husband to visit during lunchtime. I’m glad we checked out the arboretum.


Sunshine Project – Day 81, Wetlands, Fort Washington, PA

I was on my way to set the sunshine in an entirely different place when I came to this location – a small wetlands area in the middle of a lot of traffic and buildings.

I parked in a nearby restaurant’s lot and went across the street. I’ve visited this spot in the summer but never at this time of year. I have known this location for 30+ years – I lived up the road some time ago. Back then, it was a mowed meadow with a couple of old trees in it – and since it stands right next to the Wissahickon Creek, it flooded often and the water did not drain. The trees were always looking embarrassed, standing up to their knees in a great big puddle.

Finally it was decided to let the land be what it wanted to be – a wetlands. Now it’s beautiful and full of plants and animals. There is a short little walk into it, but it’s mostly left to the creatures who live in it.

path in the FW wetlands

I decided to set the sunshine on a weathered bench a short way down the path.

sunshine in place 3-11-15

I walked the rest of the way as far as the path went and saw this sign with information about the wetlands at this time of year – when winter turns to spring.

Walking back, I just enjoyed looking over the peaceful scene.

icy water and grasses 3-11-15

There were a lot of details to look at – the plants, the water, the sky, and even the worn bench caught my attention. When you go to a place like this, you naturally slow down and move at a pace that allows you to see things you might just brush by in your everyday life.

Happy sunshine.

Sunshine, March 11, 2015.

Sunshine, March 11, 2015.

More about the Sunshine Project can be found right here, or you can search “Sunshine Project” in the category listing.

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