At Last, a Break from the Clouds and Monotony

It’s April 26, 2020, and today marks the 38th day of self-isolation and the shut-down of nonessential businesses in New York State. I was shocked when I did the math and realized that millions of Americans have been at home for just over 10% of the current year, no wonder we’re going a bit stir crazy.

I was forewarned before moving to Upstate, NY, about the overcast nature of the weather. Although I thought I was mentally prepared for it, the reality is that the cloudy, rainy, dreary days far outnumber the sunny ones. This year has been compounded by the need to stay at home, below-average temperatures, and snowfall as recently as a few days ago.

Yesterday there was finally a break in the weather pattern, and it was a gloriously sunny and mild day. I met up with my friend Rodney, and we went for what I thought was going to be a leisurely stroll around one of the state parks. It turned out to be so much better than that.

Green Lakes is a magnificent park. Even the entrance is strikingly scenic, with its evergreen lined paths to the hiking trails.

Evergreen lined entrance_Green Lakes

The paved path leading into the park met my initial expectation about the nature of the walk, it was a bit hillier than I imagined but still reasonably easy.

As we reached the top of the hill and the first glimpse of the interior of the park and the area my friend wanted to give me a walking tour of, my impressions began to change a little. Instead of a paved path, the first walking path he showed me was covered in a blanket of emerald green grass.

Grassy Path at Green Lakes

The path was flanked by Reed grass (I think that’s what it is) and trees that are still waiting for weather warm enough to coax them into spring.

We didn’t take this path, but seeing it did alter my expectations a bit – the trails wouldn’t be paved, but I anticipated the walk would be a little more challenging, but very manageable.

Fast forward through the rest of our six-mile ‘walk.’ There were steep hills and gentle inclines, smooth grassy paths, and dirt paths spotted with tree roots emerging through the earth as well as a few rocks scattered here and there.

Our final descent involved a steep hill with a very narrow dirt path that contained more than one spot peppered with small loose rocks. Steep Trail at Green Lakes

We stood at the top of the hill, and Rodney said, “Beth, I’m so sorry! I forgot about this hill.”

I responded, “It’s ok, I’m up for the challenge – let’s do it!”

Rodney and Mo (short for Geronimo), his trusted Chocolate Lab, were sure-footed as they began the downward climb. As for me, not so much – I was hesitant at best, but determined to make it.

I could tell I was making Rodney nervous, and he was concerned for my safety because he kept stopping, turning around, and coaching me. “Place your feet a little wider apart on this next part of the trail, oh, and walk to the left. It’s wider, and there are fewer loose rocks.” Through his coaching and a virtual helping hand, I made it safely to the bottom of the hill.

All I can say is I felt accomplished after doing so!

It was a far different walk from my usual stroll around the flat and uninteresting streets of my neighborhood. Instead of listening to my book, I listened to nature and engaged in conversations filled with good-natured banter.

It was also nice to see people outside of the grocery store, albeit in masks and from at least six feet away. It somehow still felt a bit more normal than the past few weeks have seemed.

The walk, or the hike, was life-affirming and a reminder that as we go through our days on this earth, we will experience both easy and challenging times. But when it’s all said and done, if we face those challenging times head-on and accept help along the way, life is truly joyous and rewarding.

The little lake at Green Lakes

A Little Slice of Heaven on Earth

A place to relax outside the Colleen Attara Studio

When I lived in the Midwest, my perception of the East Coast was the same as many others. Based on movies, magazines, and personal travels I imagined it to be all skyscrapers and sidewalks. When I moved here, my friends from Omaha asked me about the traffic and how long it takes to get to work and whether or not I missed the wide open spaces.

I get a kick out of explaining that I live in a town that has a main street with a single stop light and the only type of traffic jam that could cause me to be late for work is a flock of geese crossing the road.

One of my more recent discoveries is the Patterson Farm.  It is one of the few, if not the only pieces of open space left in the area.  It’s the home of the Artist’s of Yardley, the studio of artist Colleen Attara, and the rich land is a source of local produce for the community.  There are two houses and sets of farm buildings; one was owned by the Patterson’s and the other by the Doan’s.

Last Friday I was feeling out of sorts, so I grabbed my camera and drove to the property.  Today I’d like to take you on a tour.

The driveway winds from Mirror Lake road to the Janney House.  This picture isn’t from my most recent set, but I think it’s the best picture I have of the house. I thought it would be neat to include a photo of the house from the first day of my drawing class.  The house was built during the time that Andrew Jackson was president and is the home of the Artist’s of Yardley.The Janney House, Patterson Farm, Yardley PA

I thought the view of these trees and the sun filtered through the leaves was spectacular.  I love the shadows and it made me picture Scarlett O’hara standing with soil clenched in her hand and shouting to the sky, “I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again.”Trees alongside the Patterson Farm Driveway

This body of water brought back memories of my grandparents farm outside of Berthold, N.D.  The slough at the end of the road was the signal for the dog to start barking and that the road trip was over and there were welcoming hugs just ahead.Still Water and trees along the Patterson Farm Driveway

The shafts of tall grass swayed in the breeze and they whispered “Summer,” in my ear.Patterson Farm, Whispers of Summer Grass

I met the gentleman who currently farms the property. He grows fresh produce, and his family sells it at a local farmers market.  He often tends to the farm in the evening as a way to wind down and get away from the hectic pace of the day.  It made me sad to learn that the open space property is in jeopardy and commercial development may ensue.  (more to come on this in a separate post)The current Farmer of the Patterson Farm, Yardley PA

There is something very poetic and nostalgic about a tractor at sunset.Farm Equipment at Sunset, Patterson Farm Yardley, PA

The property is well guarded by feral cats.  I don’t think this one was too happy to see me.Feral Cat, Patterson farm, Yardley, PA

I always enjoy taking pictures of things from different angles.  I like this view of the property and the glimpse of the Doan farm on the horizon.Patterson Farm View of the Doan Farm

It was all I could do to not curl up in one of the deck chairs  and watch the sea of summer wave across the land.A place to relax outside the Colleen Attara Studio

I found this to be a fascinating contrast.  The bright color of flowers blooming against the backdrop of a house with a history and life.  It’s as though the flowers are saying, “Don’t give up hope.”Flowers against old house, Patterson Farm, Yardley PA

I found myself wondering about the relationship between the families.  Was there intrigue?  Was there friendship? I like to think there may have been some mystery, I might just make some up for good measure.Doan FARM, also known as Satterthwaite Farm, Yardley PA

Patterson Farm, Yardley PA

One hundred and thirty pictures later I couldn’t think of a good reason to feel out of sorts.  It’s a beautiful place and a slice of heaven on earth.

Reflections of the Sun

perfect reflection of clouds at sunset on Big Sand Lake, MN

I am the warmth that greets your day, kissing the sky with the vibrancy of color and light.

I encircle you with my bright rays of color.  I touch your morning as I rise and I settle you with a beautiful glow as I disappear behind the horizon.

I am ever constant, even when I hide behind the clouds.

I am the color of seasons, the soft hue of daffodils in the spring, the fiery heat of summer, the soft blanket of leaves in the fall, my reflection sparkles in the winter’s snow.

I am the color of light and life.

I am yellow.

I am the Sun.