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

Thursday, July 07, 2011

alapocas: hike 12 of 2011: pawpaw trees and brandywine blue gneiss


My camerado chose this hike from the book of hikes that we are beginning to realize we will not finish this year, though that had been our goal. Alapocas Run State park is a lovely wild place in Wilmington Delaware, situated by a freeway, similar to Tinicum Marsh in Philly.


The parkland was set aside by William Poole Bancroft for the people of Delaware. W.P.B was the son of Joseph Bancroft, who seems to have made the family money, and the brother of Samuel Bancroft, whose collection of PreRaphealite art is the largest in the United States. I've never been able to keep the Bancrofts or the DuPonts straight, but I feel I owe it to the philanthropists of Delaware to try.

We liked this hike. It began as a quiet, pleasant walk through riparian woods.


(These fungi resemble the bonnet-wearing oysters in Disney's Alice in Wonderland--my first, instantly addicting taste of the surreal.)

The trail led us up a rise into a pawpaw forest. I had never seen so many, and had the sense of being somewhere very exotic and new. Look how the leaves fan out at the ends of the pawpaw branches:


Very graceful. The pawpaw is the largest fruit native to North America--I envision a day when everyone has a pawpaw tree in the yard, having finally realized how thrifty and ecologically shrewd it is to grow low-maintenance foodstuffs at home. This may be unrealistic: I know only two people who have tried pawpaw, and neither liked it.


But I need to taste it myself. Pawpaw is the only species of its genus found outside the tropics; our hiking book said breadfruit was a relative, but I think the author confused pawpaw with papaya. Wrong again, book! Like Jango Fett, pawpaws reproduce by cloning (which I may try, so be warned), and is the host plant for the zebra swallowtail butterfly (which we did not see).


The trail led to the base of these cliffs. They are blue gneiss, which I had pictured as lush cobalt and marbled, but blue gneiss, it seems, is battleship gray unless freshly broken. Still, this view was impressive, and I was able to imagine these cliffs veiled by a waterfall, through which a glistening tarzan might step.

We got lost on the way back, and emerged from the park, hot and weary, in a suburb, where, we surmised, many Native Americans must reside--because the sign for the development is crowned with a beautiful silhouette of an Indian shooting an arrow.

Or, at least, it seems likely that Indians are given a nice discount on homes here.

We'd been invited to Peter's house for dinner (Peter and his wife gave my camerado the hiking book that started this whole thing), and were supposed to bring beer--but found none in Delaware and were too tired to stop in Philly. We showed up at Peter's door and explained--he said, Well actually, I am very disappointed.

So we borrowed Peter's dog and walked to the liquor store to keep our end of the bargain, which, after all, is only fair.

Dinner was outstanding, as it always is at Peter's.

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