but look how that little fairy house glows!
Here are a few pics from my walks in Mt. Lake.
Years ago, I traded in my treadmill for a dog.
She was a beagle named Dorie, and she turned me into something I hadn't been before: a walker. Nearly every day we ventured out into the roofless world, and nearly every day we made discoveries that could be made nowhere else but at that particular place, in that particular moment.
Dorie has passed out of this world, but in my heart she is still eagerly tugging me outside, to see what awaits.
Read Dorie's Story here.
Someday I would like to sit under trees like these and spend hours simply looking up.
I've always liked cannas. My mom used to grow them around the light pole in our yard.
Even the fall litter on the sidewalks looks alluring when the light hits just right.
The tiger is still on guard! (See last month's post.)
I took this picture from some distance away, so it's blurry,
but look how that little fairy house glows!
Here are a few pics from my walks in Mt. Lake.
This funny statue reminded me very much of my late beagle, Dorie. In the winter, Dorie would suddenly plunge her head and shoulders into the snow, tail wagging all the while. I always wondered what she was after. A frozen bit of sandwich? Burrowing mice? Whatever the prize, to her it was well worth a faceful of snow.
If my water bottle had a top like that, I'd leave it on the sidewalk, too.
I love the idea of fish lawn ornaments.
The best way to play with an extra-large tiger plush toy:
put it in your yard and watch the double takes.
These sculpted faces reminded me of a trip I took to New York City with my daughter
and her friend in 2013. We stayed at an apartment on the Lower East Side that we rented through HomeAway. The apartment was very cluttered and had a weird vibe (I'll save that story for another day).
I don't think I'm done with these sculptures quite yet. They still haunt me
from time to time, so perhaps they are looking for a home in a story.
Sometimes it's just the pattern of lines that catches my eye. Like this green tangle...
...and these brown leaves hanging down like tiny wizened bats.
A weeping willow and thick vines. On one side a downward cascade;
on the other, a staunch climb up.
These next pics were taken on a walk early in the morning
on October 1. More interesting lines...
Hurray! More sidewalk poetry!
Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry
We knew this day would come.
Whenever I see signs like these, I think of Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky (2007 Newbery winner). It's been years since I read the book, but I remember the main character wondering if it was the CHILDREN who were slow. :)
The children who made this l-o-o-o-n-g path clearly had a mission!
This photo and the one above it were taken 20 days apart, and I can't recall if it was the same street. All I know is that I very much wanted to go up that red carpet!
Maybe kids who make l-o-n-g paths and red carpets grow up to make
dragonflies that dance in the streets.
A particularly majestic cat...
Holy infant, mother and child...
A carousel horse gleams in a backyard. Who can say what magical journey it was on?
Bee cheerful. :)
This little dinosaur practically looked alive.
The one in the bottom right corner—not so much.
A flip-flop planter and a pipe-smoking sea captain. Fun!
I noticed this tree because it was wrapped in white lights.
Sometimes it's merely the angle of the sun that gives us new images to ponder.
Like this ordinary stucco wall...
...this lacy leaf shadow...
...and this busy bit of sand. How many stories are contained in these tracks?
Finally, a Little Free Library with some wise words from Dr. Seuss's Lorax:
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.
In July I continued my habit of taking very long walks early in the morning, and I was amply rewarded! More flowers, more sidewalk poetry, more amusing lawn ornaments, and more stories.
Lit from within!
Some mushrooms are really flowers at heart.
Through the trees, a glimpse of a pond I didn't know was there.
Here's an albino squirrel I see frequently on my walks. (Or maybe it's not the same one?!) I would like to believe this little guy brings me good luck.
On a beautiful Sunday morning, this squirrel was enjoying his breakfast—an entire bagel. Maybe he's got the New York Times stashed away somewhere too.
A birthday balloon determined to celebrate until the last possible moment.
Not much to look at here...but wait, isn't that a word on the garage?
No joy here...
No joy here, either...
But here the joy has been given permanent status.
Now for some lawn ornaments...
This yard is a story in itself!
What made these leaf patterns?
Do you get the feeling the shrub is reaching with all its might toward the broken branch?
A food dish for a stray cat? I hope so.
A shattered TV on the sidewalk...
...but how lovely, the shattered bits of sky!
Old box springs ready to be picked up.
More sidewalk poetry!
Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk
What hurt you today
was taken out of your heart
by the meadowlark
who slipped the silver needle
of her song
in and out of the grey day
and mended what was torn.
In closing, here's another flower. What a thrill to reach the light!
Wow. June 2016 was the BEST month for walks. I got into a pattern of getting up very early (usually between 5:30 and 6:00) and getting out into my new neighborhood in St. Paul for long, leisurely walks. When I'm up that early, it's a little easier to justify taking pictures of people's yards and such—so be prepared, there are lots of photos from this green and golden month!
Let's start with the flowers.
Here are some beauties that brought me back to my childhood. I believe they are prairie roses. My mom had a stately old prairie rose in her garden for as long as I can remember. And when I was very young, there were prairie roses growing along the fenceline between two fields. The fence was removed and those wild prairie roses are no more, but I will never forget their sweet smell. In fact, as I'm writing this I'm remembering something else—a doomed attempt on my part to make perfume by soaking the pretty pink petals in water for days on end. What I ended up with was not so pretty and did not smell sweet at all, but at least I learned a little something about decomposition!
I think these are a kind of echinacea. I love the swirl of lines made
by petals, leaves, and long blades of grass.
I had some of these flowering vines at a rental house—but they were nothing like this. Mine were thin and scraggly, barely hanging on. These are exultant.
I love these petunias that seem to be spattered with white paint. Reminds me of some shoes I once had. My daughter, in her early teens, had taken my clogs without permission and had then gotten busy with a spray painting project. My black clogs ended up with gold spatters. But they looked so cool that I continued to wear them. They'd been customized!
Is this not the very essence of red?
Some flowers look like they're made to be together.
Love these colors.
Now let's move on to lawn ornaments.
This exuberant fellow is pretty close to where I live, so I see him often.
He puts a lilt in my step.
I can't even see this girl's face, but the bounce
of her pigtails tells me she's having fun.
Grumpy Guards of the Gutter.
Silver ducks swimming on concrete.
The pig and the goose know more than they are letting on.
I love these two. They belong in a lush garden but have fallen on hard times.
Someday they'll be in a better place, though—just you wait and see.
Doesn't this look like the entrance into a storybook?
Last month I posted pictures of the sidewalk poetry I'd discovered. Here are some more.
When I walk, I wander—I pick a general direction and go. So when I just happen to come across a spectacular view, or a walkway over a highway, or an unexpected path in the woods, I feel exhilarated.
Harriet Island touched by the sun's first rays.
And now for some funny moments...
From a distance I saw a green lump in the grass and I couldn't figure
out what it was. My best guess was an old rug. But no, it was a toy
alligator—clearly a master of camouflage!
Just an ordinary house, right?
But look who's lurking on the porch!
And finally, the coolest paint job I've ever seen on a car. I love that
the caterpillar is represented too. Metamorphosis on wheels!
At last, it's MAY—a colorful month to begin exploring my new neighborhood in St. Paul!
(I moved here at the end of April.)
Years ago, someone decided that a little sapling in the lawn would be allowed to live.
It would NOT be pulled up or mowed down. That is one lucky, plucky tree.
I love the colors and textures here...seeds and stones.
Not sure if this is funny or creepy...
Real church for real "people." Hmmm...Those quotation marks make me a little nervous. What kind of people are we talking about here?
The best for last...I was walking along Winslow Avenue and was absolutely delighted to discover a short poem stamped in the sidewalk. And then I found some more! Turns out the poems are part of an ongoing public art project by the city of St. Paul. Here's a link to the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk page.
A little less war
A little more peace
A little less poor
A little more eats.
I'm kind of glad I didn't know about this project beforehand. Coming across these poems totally out of the blue—what a surprise and a joy!
A dazzling sky early in the morning.
The water tower near my mom's house, swallowed up by a cold, dense fog.
Train tracks in the early evening (February 16) and in the early morning (February 26).
Here is a leaf that would not let go of its color, all the way through winter.
Something about the color and glow of that narrow strip of meltwater captured my attention...it seemed like a rift, a portal into someplace Other.
Sky and metal, color and geometry...
I have a walking buddy when my son, Louis, is home on breaks from college. The next few pictures were taken on the path around Mountain Lake. (The lake, not the town.)
What caused the snow to melt in a perfect circle like this?
I like how the blue sky and brown grass set off the lovely variations of green in the trees. (By March we Minnesotans are pretty hungry for color.)
Curtains of water by the old dam.
A frozen oil or gas spill. Kind of cool how the colors separated out.
Just for fun I enlarged the image and upped the saturation. Pretty.
Not so pretty: worms. One March morning, after heavy rains, it was a huge challenge to take more than a few steps without squishing any worms. But they did make some cool patterns in the dirt!
I didn't go on as many walks in March and April, for two good reasons: a long road trip with my daughter and a move to St. Paul! The 2016 photos prior to this point were all taken in my small home town of Mt. Lake, where I'd been living temporarily with my mother. From this point on, most of my photos will be in my neighborhood in St. Paul.
And the first one: the butterflies on the sidewalk outside Riverside Library. Moving can make a person feel disoriented, but I felt a little more grounded after discovering these butterflies. And there's a reason for that. This blog by my friend Karen Henry Clark explains it all.