We met at Mandy's house. This is my birdbath w/its assortment of autumn leaves.
We took two cars to Churchville Nature Center 20 minutes from Willow Grove. We piled into Mandy's huge white SUV and all chatted on the way down. Mike had carefully mapped out the beautiful journey. We all marveled at the lovely Churchville Reservoir and Mike said, "We'll pass it on our hike."
For me, it was the highlight of our hour-long walk. Mandy's daughter Becky, a former member of the Army, brought her 2-year-old daughter Brianna in a 'jogging stroller' and managed to push and pull it on the path which was often tangled by tree roots. Mark would exclaim frequently about the narrow roots which can't be held in the clay-ey soil and thus they expanded outward on the floor of the forest.
It's always exciting to see a body of water in the distance, and there it was - the reservoir! Click on photo to enlarge.
Mike's Hikers gathered around Churchville Reservoir.
Afterwards we ate at the nearby Churchville Inn. The noise factor was incredibly high due to a Steelers game in the bar, but the eleven of us had our very own room in the back.
PS - Since writing this post, an article just appeared in the Times about a trend to allow GUNS in bars. Well, nothing like mixing alcohol and firearms. I am incensed!
I thoroughly enjoyed my onion soup and caesar salad w/grilled chicken. The salad dressing was so scrumptious I didn't even mind that all the lettuce was (moan) iceberg. C'mon, guys, ain't you ever heard of Romaine or Boston or Bibb or Red-tip?
When I got home and talked to next-door neighbor boyfriend Scott, he said, Tiptoe over here to my bedroom and you can watch the Fox forage on the compost heap.
Me, I grabbed my camera, and wearing my sox, tiptoed outside but let my screendoor SLAM, and Scott actually watched, from his upstairs bedroom window, as Mr Fox looked towards me and scampered away thru the woods.
Then Scott came out. "He's very skittish," he said. "But he usually forages around this time - 4:30 pm - so we'll look out again and see him." Scott has had several sightings.
As we stood there, on the grass with the wind blowing our clothing, a dazzling sight suddenly took place: a hawk swooped right past us, chasing some birds and heading straight for Scott's new birdfeeder.
So, you see, we missed Mr Fox, but we did see the Hawk.
At the Churchville Reservoir, some of us saw a great big bald eagle soaring by. In their office, I took two photos of stuffed animals.
This stuffed eagle is actually HUGE.
Someday I will see a fox in our backyard. I did see one thother day but I thought it was a giant cat. This stuffed fox showed me that the long-tailed cat streaking by was actually The Fox!
When Sarah comes to visit, she always prays she'll see the fox. Once she did.
The words "noise level" reminded me of a favorite poem I wrote. And, Judy Diaz and I are still friends!
I was in the company this evening
of people who take death seriously.
Until then, I hadn’t realized
I was not the only one.
We sat at a table in Houlihans,
the noise level was excruciatingly high,
but you got used to it.
There was Judy and her grown son, Michael,
a mountain climber visiting from
Boulder where he lived with his wife Tory and
their faux son, Lakota, a large and
handsome dog who looked like a domesticated wolf.
The three of them lived in a trailer
while they saved up money
to buy a house.
Each had a job. Tory was a food broker,
Michael a cabinet maker who carried
a business card
with a picture of a silver hammer.
“How's Tory doing without you?” I asked.
“Oh, she’s missing me,” he said with that
glittering smile that must have disarmed her
right from the start.
His bright eyes didn’t for a moment
flag from the knowledge that the
presence of death bound us all together,
making everything important.
I was spooning into my mouth
the special baked potato soup they had
with the fresh-cut chives,
while his mother was sipping from an odorless
martini with four olives skewed onto a toothpick
set across the top of the glass.
She was getting on in age,
not terribly old,
newly collecting retirement funds,
but getting forgetful.
She wouldn’t lie and told us she left the
burner on once and had gone upstairs.
“It’s when you do it five or six times!” she shouted
pounding her fist on the table,
“that they throw you in the old age home!”
We were not as yet picked off, none of us,
none of the three, four, if you count Tory,
the way you might imagine a lone bowling pin
waiting in its station while a well aimed black
ball – or maybe it was blue with white streaks -
came hurtling down the shiny runway
with velocity unrivaled.
It was dark on the way home and
I stopped at the Wawa,
the one I used to go to when I worked in Bensalem.
They’d changed the place around.
The new arrangement had a large
open feel to it,
fluorescent lights spilling down almost like
The same woman was behind the deli counter,
making someone a sandwich. A lovely woman,
who I noticed quickly looked older than when I
used to come in. Older people, I thought to myself,
look older quicker.
“Hello, Louise,” I said,
and watched to see if her face lit up
and she remembered me.