I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

hike 9: valley forge schuylkill river trail


For our ninth hike we went back to Valley Forge, and hiked the river trail through a magical floodplain forest. We took the friends who gave us The Book of 50 Greater-Philly Hikes, which we are sworn to complete before 2012 (we are behind by several hikes, so it's looking unlikely). Our hope is to get all of our friends to join us for at least one hike this year.


Our friends who gave us The Book are originally mid-westerners, so they make a lot of eye-contact and are really polite. I brought them some rotten yams for their compost once and they complimented me on what nice compost it would make. You see them above with my camerado, whom I met at the same time that they met each other.


Bluebells were the star of this hike: the Old World doesn't have a monopoly on bluebell woods, we have our own: Mertensia virginica. (European bluebells are darker and droopier, looking haunted and world-weary; ours are brighter and stick straight out like trumpets). The abundant bluebells you see in these pictures were a highlight of this hike, along with the ancient maples that grew on either side of the trail: I have never seen such immense, primordial maples.


That one has a nice mature Toxicodendron radicans growing up it. As lovely as this path was in the spring, it must be magical in snow.

Our friend Peter believes in otherworldly beings and we have an ongoing discussion in which he tries to overcome my doubt. The topic arose again because these woods had a real fairy-tale vibe to them.


Our debate about the likelihood of seeing faeries on this hike was interrupted by some rustling and incredibly high-pitched squeaking, which I alone of our party was able to hear. I think we had come upon the nests of some deer mice--we saw two race for cover but they moved so fast it was tough to say for sure what they were. I listened on line here and verified that the sound I heard was deer mouse-ish. I'm guessing I heard distress calls of their young, if that's possible. If some people can hear at more rarefied frequencies, then maybe some perceive spiritual or otherworldly phenomena at more rarefied frequencies?

(My doubt is practical; I don't question the existence of a spirit world, just whether anything can be definitively known about it, or gained from investigating it. Yeats's investigations led him only into a morass of images, and Madame Blavatsky, the most celebrated medium of her century, said it was pointless to consult the spirits, because "the spirits lie.")

Immediately after our encounter with the deer mice (from which we escaped without hantavirus or lyme), we came upon this spiritually-minded character:


Jack-in-the-pulpit. I have a memory of seeing these and being fascinated by them as a child, but I think that was only in a book, so this may be the first I've seen them for real, that I remember. I was very excited. Beyond that, I've lost my notes for this hike, so can only report that Peter identified some warblers, and I saw more ephemerals struggling through mats of invasive lesser celandine, and also learned to identify bladdernut.

And, I'd like to figure out who made this:


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