Our city is pretty broke, and you can tell by the changes along the bike path where we often take our walks. Nothing gets pruned anymore. If a large tree branch falls across the pavement, it’s dragged off to the side and left to rot.
Weeds grow up tall and threaten to become a fire danger. Then we notice that they were mostly cut down, apparently by some large machine that doesn’t get the borders of anything.
So to the eye, the landscape is less lovely than before. Not like the countryside, which is normally wild and ungroomed, but like a planted garden that is neglected.
It’s not easy to tell which shrubs were planted decades ago by the city, and which have come over and under the fences of the yards bordering the walkways. The privets are obviously man-planted, and there are rows of the big bushes with hundreds of honeybees drinking at them all right now.
On the last few walks I didn’t notice the raggedness so much because the higher temperatures have brought out the warm aromas of summer, and I was looking around hungrily to discover the source. Mr. Glad and I usually stride along at the fastest pace possible, and I’ve been wanting to get back there by my lonesome to meander with my camera. This morning I did.
The quietness is lush. Maybe all the children were enjoying the first days without school by sleeping in, or something less wholesome. Other than a couple on their bikes, and one woman walking her dog, I was alone with the songbirds and buzzing insects.
Whatever cut the weeds, it threw layers of the cuttings to the side, on top of the desirable plants, jumbling up the scene even more.
But a flowering vine had escaped from a back yard and made a bright spot in the tangle, and the growing tips of redwood trees always look fresh and clean. There are lots of pretty plants I don’t know the names of; I’m happy they don’t pay any mind to property lines.
This is one that makes red berries for us, to decorate the house with at Christmas. Now is the time for it to make heady aromas. Potato vine was climbing over wooden fences…
…And honeysuckle – While I have to keep after the vine in my yard with clippers, so that it doesn’t take over, along the bike path it can do what it wants, and bless my nose every time I get near.
Looking down toward the creek, you can see past the Queen Anne’s Lace the lower road running under the footbridge. I crunched through stickery stuff to get close to the flower.
I went down to that dirt path for a view of the creek, which is not noticeably flowing at this time of year. Horsetail grass and other more watery plants still grow in the mud.
On my return loop I passed the park where our children used to play soccer, and where they claimed their own particular redwood trees to climb and perch in. There wasn’t much competition from the neighborhood children because it’s a prickly business, climbing a redwood tree.
Years after they abandoned their trees the city began trimming the lower branches. I don’t know if that would make climbing harder or easier.
All these soft comforts of a summer morning were better than breakfast. Next time I’ll try to get out the door even earlier for my sweet treats.