Don’t take my bike away for saying this, but sometimes walking is better than cycling. Wait, before you stab my bike tires and spit in my water bottles, hear me out. Sometimes I need to look at things at an even slower pace. Those of you who have ridden with me before are balking already because surely there can’t be anything slower than me slugging along on The Rocket. Sometimes I just need to stroll and inhale the crisp air and squat down on the ground and look at stuff, really look at stuff.
That Laura & I walked along the river the other day, the winter wind whipping my camera strap as I happily snapped away, trying to make some sense of my new camera. We walked into the arboretum, one of my favorite places on the trail because a new surprise waits around every corner.
Take the Monkey Puzzle Trees for one. Just looking at their sparse, prickly branches makes me laugh.
And when I start to compose myself again, I think of the name ‘Monkey Puzzle Trees’ and I’m in stitches all over again.
Until the other day, I’d never taken the branch of the path that leads to a little bridge called Charlotte’s Crossing. I was mooning over it already because I’m the teacher who cries every year when I read the end of Charlotte’s Web. Then Charlotte herself greeted us and I thought I was going to straight swoon.
So by the time I saw Charlotte’s charming children climbing the sides of the bridge, I was downright giddy. Not to mention that blue sky in the background. I love sunny winter California days.
A few steps later I spotted this petite pile of stones. Something about the balance required to stack stones always makes me stop and pause.
And then I turned a corner and saw these.
We meandered along the trail and ducked into the Children’s Sculpture Garden where “Mosaic Oasis”, a sculpture by Colleen Barry, sits as the crowning jewel in the garden.
I could stay at this sculpture for hours, running my fingers over each tile. I mean just look at these ladybugs creeping along. Don’t they make your fingers itch to do crayon rubbings?
Everywhere you look there’s a new treasure to behold, like this little heart marked with love.
Or Lady Liberty standing tall amongst other shining jewels.
And then there are the dragonflies. Small dragonflies skitter and flit in and out of the mosaic, but this is the one that makes my heart leap into my throat. It’s staggeringly beautiful.
In the center of the mosaic on the back side of the dragonfly is this gorgeous tree.
And because I adore, adore, adore the plaque accompanying the tree, here’s a closer look.
On a scale of 1-10 how weird would it be to tattoo that quote to my forehead for every parent to see? 11? Oh well, I’m afraid of needles anyway.
And then, as if the Mosaic Oasis wasn’t full of enough wonder, there are the giant insect sculptures. Isn’t this ladybug just absolutely begging for a smooch?
And then there’s the giant metal dragonfly statue. Be. Still. My. Heart.
I’ve died and gone to Heaven. Look at the details in the face. I’m absolutely smitten with this dragonfly.
The Children’s Sculpture Garden brims with magic. Even a glimpse through the spindly branches of Harry Lauder’s walking stick revealed this quaint, blue house.
As the light began to fade, That Laura and I turned back toward the trailhead. On the path we spotted this stencil of a woman watering her plant.
We hurried up the last hill back to the car and as we did, I couldn’t help but feel that this walk had watered a parched part of me, a part of me in desperate need of a day to slow down and drink it all in.