Philadelphia Garden Thoughts

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David Culp spends an early Thursday afternoon touring friends around his home 2 acres, the layered garden he has hand-planted in the forest. He says, the house is the best ornament of the garden. It’s a 1790 home on a hillside. In October’s change of season the locus drops its yellow color, filling the wind with flat worn darts. Broken antique tulips from the 1800’s are buried below the surface, in the spring the gravel drive fills with red poppies. Outdoor rooms surround and open the house below the 100-year-old Virginia Spruce. He has a black and white garden, bonsai trees growing in hollowed logs, a winter garden, and a full summer one waiting to go to sleep. He borders the wilderness, and as the land falls away from him, he offers it to the natural garden, mother earth.

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At Winterthur there are a pallet of materials that you will find in the garden. Jeff is in charge of the garden objects. We too are among the big forest trees, small in their tall cathedral. Gardens may be for education, for health, none of us tire at being outside among the blooms for four days. We walk near the 8 acres of azalea woods, then into the stone circles surrounding meadow trees. Color moved through the outdoors, and in the children’s garden the stone bench sunk into the mortar, the roof thatched by the in-house Thatcher.

At Chanticleer every gardener had the winter project of making. Cherry wood soft to the touch led us through the pathways and sunk into the ground to welcome the boundaries making places. Out door rooms just 25′ by 24′ have arbors, stairs to the guest room, and floating flowers in the still water urn. On Fridays, guests are welcome for picnics.  Water fountains drain to trickle troughs and the reflective surface of the ruin dining room table is one large coffin. A roof has collapsed, this is Emma’s garden where acorns have embed themselves in granite books, floating faces gasp at the surface of the black basin.

Water is managed everywhere, at the Morris Arboretum it is held in cisterns below recycled metal green roofs, circuited beneath the porous walkways and directed from the large asphalt lots. The old estate now has showers, horticulturists, classrooms, designers, equipment sheds, mulchers, one place to locate everything you may need.

Mt. Cuba shared the native piedmont plants and the sound of us walking around on the gravel to end our trip. This garden was most similar to what the West Virginia Botanic garden is, the managed meadow with a few grasses, and small seedlings at the edge. The Walden pond, dyed black to improve the reflectivity of tourists, fall balls of the bursting heart, and coupled benches. It is an all of a sudden reflectivity, complete at the edge with pitcher plants.  ‘What did nature put here? What did people put here?’ – Hough

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Montezuma’s Castle

Arizona Hiking

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Montezuma’s Castle

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Montezuma’s Castle

sits too tall to climb without ladders

pale white adobes, pressed

together with women palms

centuries ago

since then, ancient sycamores

grow in the streambeds.

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The next day, we closed in on the South Rim

the north face of Humphreys began to fade

to a mere backdrop

left to stand with common tourists in the

amazement of nature

over the erosion of another natural wonder.

 ~

Photo of Montezuma’s Castle from A Year on the Road

Hiking in Sedona ~ 2012

Sedona AZ

Open Sedona
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Sun iron details

around gated entrances

open Sedona.

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A tall ponderosa Pin forest

along the drive of oak creek canyon falls

music beats through the intimate canyon river

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From where we lodged we walked

around bell rock and the courthouse

with long shadows stepping on

hollow rock sounds

around the vortex.

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The agave blooms life size

lily pad blossoms

held skyward and toward

the simple and very significant structure

The Chapel of the Holy Cross

we see from a climb up

Cathedral Rock.

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Psychedelic colors of the desert blend

between sky blue, white purple, green

red-pink and lean down to the

Verde Valley, lush tees around Oak Creek

where small black birds open up a bright white

wing span.

~

Sedona AZ

Las Vegas to Laughlin

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Dressing up and dressing off

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In Vegas we stayed at a castle

a screaming floor full of ‘winners’

they’d made it here

landed in a bleak desert

from the sky or over dry land.

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We’ve projected beyond

the desert people camps

the lonely fifty mile road

through a reservation

to a glass U walk suspended

over a natural wonder.

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But most people stay

in Vegas, if they visit Nevada

the ‘on’ switch turns at 8pm.

Quiet malls become clubs with

long lines and the noise of the street

belongs inside by night.

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Peace may only rest in the cliff cracks

of Zion two hundred miles east

or along the Colorado still running in Laughlin.

The Colorado

Humphreys Peak, Flagstaff

It hovers over the city dwellers, peeking around city buildings, train travelers, and from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Humphries

Flagstaff

Thirty miles north of Sedona

lives the summer homes

of most desert dwellers, and the shadow

of Arizona’s highest peak.

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We’d come to ‘Flag’ to climb Mt. Humpheys

the day of rest before

found us lolly-gagging around

easily paved tourist attractions that left

us feeling empty.

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We ate across the tracks before the train

bisected the city again

a hipster town, complete with

a university from the

historic landmarks

old hotels where New Years Eve

parties were spent watching

the pinecone drop

outside Weatherford Hotel.

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Humphreys began at the low pine spread

easy, slow switch-backs in the Aspen forest

a bright green fern floor before the tall

white legs

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Careful steps climb for two-thirds of the way

watching roots and rock trip your feet

until knee lifts climb you the

last tired third to the top

the sand and lava rock tundra

of a volcano we can make out

at the peak, over the rock scramble

blew one million years ago.

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A live hive by the top

small hungry flies at 12,000 feet

mountains south of us were draped in pines

a soft carpet of Aspen lies in the valley

crooks below the mountain.

Climbing Humphreys

Humphreys Peak, Arizona

Humphries View 

Climbing Humphreys

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We walked a grass meadow to the forest edge

the lime green new growth of the pine

spread and opened a mile in to expose a hill of rock

too great for human hands

The easy slow switch backs lead through Aspen

tall white trunks rise from the fern forest floor.

We stumble over large rocks and exposed roots

the first two miles, getting acclimated to 11,000 ft

and then the knee lifts begin, slow scrambling past

false peaks to make it on top of an ancient volcano.

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There is a constant buzz at 12,633 feet, a live hive

hungry flies we see

south mountains draped in pines

a soft carpet of Aspen lies in the valley crooks below

The 360 degree view affords us the view of the North Rim and Walnut Canyon by just turning

a simple circle.

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The next day we watched Humphreys in the rear view mirror

Onward to see the Grand Canyon South rim as

soft sandaled tourists.

  ~

The Grand Canyon