A Few Thoughts While on a Cold Day’s Walk

On December 27, last week, I accompanied a friend into West Philadelphia where he was going to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for a medical treatment. I had some time to spend while he was busy and I used it to take a walk around Penn’s campus. Here are a few odds and ends from that little trek.


Penn is a private university, not public (the name throws people off as many state schools are the University of  —-). It’s located in the city and it’s a truly urban campus. Almost 40 years ago, I took a couple of classes here that I needed for my job, in the night school. I’ve been here since then, of course, but not in the past few years. As I walked I reflected on the memories I have of the neighborhood.


Public transit is everywhere – you can take a trolley, bus, elevated train, or get over to 30th Street train station and go anywhere in the United States.

Streets and buildings.

You can see Center City Philadelphia about 20 blocks or 2 miles away.

Did I tell you it was a miserably cold day? Well, it was, in the low 20’s. So outdoor scenes were deserted, no surprise, and it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that school was closed for the holidays, either. People are still around. But they are not out enjoying the fresh air.

I walked up the street and faced this building:

I wondered if this was the Charles Addams I am familiar with – you know, the creator of the Addams Family of print, cartoons, and TV fame? I turned into the walkway. Yes, it is. This sight made it clear.

At home I looked up Charles Addams and learned that he went to school here in the 1930’s.

A few steps further on I saw this gate – and I spent quite a bit of time examining it. Each hand holds some tool or implement used in art making. Absolutely fascinating and beautiful.

Finally, the Addams building and I are the same age.

I liked the look of the screen wall treatment for this building – I think it was a parking garage or else the utility level of the building.

These creepy dolls were in the window of an antique store, and let me tell you that I was glad they were on the other side of the glass and could not directly catch my eye. They look like they have malevolent intentions.

First I noticed this building because we have the same first name.

Looking up, I see it used to be called something else.

I would not like to have my name changed without my permission. It seems disorienting, to say the least. Looking up this building’s history later, I found that it has had a several different uses as well. If you live long enough, well, things change.

On my way back to the hospital to meet my friend, I took these pictures of the kind of notices you see plastered all over light poles and the like. I have noticed that they tend to be quite local in their subjects. Notice the one refers to Penn Medicine – guess what – it was right across the street from the hospital. My theory continues to hold up.

Well, I went back inside the building, ready to get back into a warm place. A nice walk around campus, I thought.

Advertisements

Corn and Soy and Harvest

On November 12, my husband and I went to Norristown Farm Park to take a walk. The temperature was right around freezing; in fact, we’d had a hard frost the night before, first one of this season.

We wanted to see the state of the harvest. As you know, this park is a working farm, carrying on a 100+ year-old tradition. Formerly part of the state mental hospital property and tended by patients in years past, it is now a county park. Corn and soy are grown over much of the grounds.

My husband had been in the park earlier in the week and observed the harvesters at work. Now that they are finished and gone, things are very different. The roads in the park had felt very enclosed by the 8 ft. tall corn; now it is possible to see great distances across the land. The surrounding roads and suburban development are visible after having been hidden for the last six months from park-goers in the interior.

Still, the park is large and in most places you can imagine yourself quite alone.

The row patterns are revealed now that the corn is cut down.

Take a look at the same location with the passing of two months:

And you may be wondering about the soy crop, as so far I have only shown corn. Our walk did not take us up into the main soy fields, but we skirted the lower edge of one I showed a couple of weeks ago. The soy looked like this in the field at that time.

It has all been cut and the fields are bare now.

November.

Getting the Hurt Leg Fixed, Chapter Seven

My husband’s leg continues to improve. On Sunday, February 19, we went to a local park, Cisco Park, in Erdenheim, PA, to get in a little bit of a walk.

cisco-park-2-17-3-small

Cisco Park is a modest little place that punches above its weight, as far as all the things to do there. It has a half-mile figure eight paved trail; tot lot; ball fields; picnic tables; a little dam; a creek; and a pond.

A pond that was full of geese on this sunny day. The scene reminded me of a marina full of boats at rest. Never mind what that sign says.

cisco-park-2-17-5-small

This plot of land has an interesting history. I read up on it courtesy of the marker near the parking lot. Apparently it was a small amusement park about 100 years ago, another one of those built in the Philadelphia suburbs, accessible by streetcar, to attract business for the streetcar company. The roads, Hillcrest, Montgomery, Paper Mill, and Bethlehem Pike, are in the same positions today, but the tracks are long gone.

You can clearly see that this pond has been around for a while, because there it is on the map! As a personal note, my husband grew up near here and it was a popular ice skating destination back then (before the sign…)

The marker said that the building marked “Casino” was not a gambling establishment but rather a place for music shows and dancing.

Well, my husband walked a half mile, and I did about three (warming up for a marathon session of yard work later that day, something the nice weather made it a pleasure to do). The park was very busy – kids in the playground, dog walkers, people watching the geese, and walkers like us, getting out on a really nice day.
Hurt Leg Chapters from the past:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Oranges and Tangerines

Yesterday, November 20, my husband and I were in Allentown, PA, to go to an art event, and we had a little extra time, so we thought we’d drive around a bit.

We chose an industrial area of town.

factory-allentown-11-20-16-small

This section is a mix of factory buildings, some in use, some in the redevelopment zone, some waiting for whatever the future brings, and some doing business even on a Sunday (like the tire dealer – we watched a car with a flat tire drive on the rim, very slowly, and into oncoming traffic, to get into their parking lot. Don’t say the tire business has no drama).

We saw this little building perched at the corner of a vacant area near the old railroad tracks. Intrigued by the signs, we stopped to look.

oranges-allentown-11-20-1-small

 

Here’s a closer look at the signs.

oranges-allentown-11-20-2-small

It was a bit of a puzzle to us, this former business. Oranges, tangerines, and temples (a hybrid of tangerine and orange, I later learned), not to mention pecans – these are not local to us in Pennsylvania. So this place specialized in something – special! Why the business existed, why here? I don’t know. We went a little closer.

It’s a solid little building, isn’t it? Look at this sign – mentioning November 15. Not this year, I see, and maybe not any year recently, but at some time, winter was brightened up by the availability here of exotic fruit and nuts from down south. I am old enough to remember when a box of oranges or pecans at Christmas was something special, and they were popular gifts to have shipped from sunny Florida.

oranges-allentown-11-20-4-small

Interesting little spot, wasn’t this?

Oh Dear. Deer!

Forgive the very tired pun, but I could not resist.

I live in a suburb about a mile from the Philadelphia city line. My house has a large back yard ending at a creek. Deer and other wildlife are a common sight and at this time of year the deer are hungry and have no fear of coming up close to the house.

They are around at all times of year – but now is when we see them the most. There have been as many as eight outside at one time. It’s something to think you are alone at home and then glance out the window to find yourself being observed.

An Old Friend in Altered Circumstances

I run or walk along the Green Ribbon Trail in Fort Washington State Park quite often, but in the winter not as often, because there is no winter trail maintenance. I was there today, though, on a beautiful day, very spring-like.

Let me take you back to almost a year ago, when I visited the trail on Day 87 of the Sunshine Project. I photographed this tree. At the time, I said I thought it looked like a giraffe.

This tree looks giraffe-like to me.

I passed it all summer and I got used to seeing it as I came down the path. I took this photo of it in October.

Tree with holes #1a Green Ribbon 10-15 small

I visited the site today. Things have changed.

Winter is hard. Things finally gave way. I walked over to the tree to see if I could take one more look at its “face”, with the mouth that seemed to call out to me as I came down the path, but – the tree did a face-plant, I guess you could say. We were not able to say good-bye – I just had to pat it on its back, and go on my way.

Cones, Simply

Yesterday my husband and I stopped by this parking lot to check on the Power Line trail – we wanted to see if the snow had melted and the way was clear for us to run on it again. (In case you are interested, yes, it was.)

This parking lot in Horsham is at the mid-point of the trail and serves the trail and adjacent ball fields, none of which are in use right now, of course. So, the lot is handling some other jobs – for one thing, the township piled a lot of snow there from the roads – there are some nice snow-mountains along the side. And, it’s a great place for these trucks to assemble when they are off-duty.

They are tree-trimming trucks and they belong to a company whose work consists of trimming trees for the electric company and municipalities. You see them everywhere in the winter.

Trucks 2-6-16 #1 small

And a closer look.

Trucks 2-6-16 #3 small

You know what caught my eye? The arrangement they each have on their front bumpers for carrying traffic cones. Yes, I was so intrigued by the ingenious way they were packed on to the truck. There are two methods. One is horizontal – the cones are set on a rod that is secured with a cotter pin.

The other is vertical – they are stacked in a bracket attacked to the bumper.

Think about it. Every road project, every construction site, any tree work – all of them need traffic cones to protect the site and the workers. You know this. You’ve seen it. And you’ve never thought about where the cones keep themselves when they are off duty, have you? Well, now you know.

I found it just fascinating to see these huge trucks all with their neatly stacked cones, all ready for Monday morning. I love the simple elegance of this solution. No one will ever be shouting, “Where are the #@&!* cones!” on any site where these trucks are at work.

Trucks 2-6-16 #2 small

Snowed Last Night. Just a Little.

Snow scene 2-16 small

A block from our house.

451 2-16 in the snow small

The snow is wet and sticks to every surface, every leaf, every branch. These bushes are in front of our house.

Bush small 2-16

Another bush in our yard.

acorns under snow 2-16 small

This pot is the home of the second group of acorns we are trying to hatch. You may remember the saga from earlier posts.

A Lot of Trees in the Snow

This morning my husband and I took a walk on the Pennypack Trail in Lorimer Park. Now, they don’t plow the trail, so you can’t walk on it after it snows, until the snow melts. Or, you need to be willing to strap on your Yak-Trax and to pick your way along. We really wanted to get outside. So we chose the latter idea.

In the summer, you can’t see into the woods from the trail – it’s a green curtain. Not today. Each tree is clear and distinct. I love this view.

Lorimer 1-31-16 #3 small

Here are a couple of more snapshots. Nothing spectacular. I was just happy to be able to get outside after a week or so restricted by the snow – and to see one of my favorite places again!

 

Passage of Time, In Person

If you look around, you can find markers of the passage of time everywhere – statues of famous people now dead, every kind of old building, the little kid who grew up next door and is now married. How about this one? I saw it today at the Glenside Library, Glenside, PA.

This wall runs along the library’s driveway up to the upper parking lot and holds back a section of earth behind it.

The library was built in 1968. So this wall has spent about 50 years in position, dealing with annual freeze-thaw cycles. It’s hanging on, but not without a cost. The wall has some splits – and not just in the joints, but right through the bricks. What do you think of that?

I’m inclined to admire this wall. It’s not giving in. But…

I’m admiring Mother Nature, too. She is patient and can wait.

Cracked brick wall GL library 1-16 small

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

Categories

Pages