The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Walk This Way

With all due apologies to Steven Tyler, whom I rather expect never walked in quite THIS way, ever....
There are those times, like when Mother Nature chucks treetops at my car, or floods the nearby towns, or sends chunks of hillsides merrily cascading downwards...or just rains endlessly until I start looking much like a tall and somewhat weary prune, that I find myself questioning her motives and intent, and wondering why in hell I don't live somewhere warm and treeless. There must be a bald island somewhere. Then, there are days like today.
I think I took you all with me on a walk along the Sammamish River Trail a bit ago; this is another trail within a mile or two of my house. Okay, so yeah--I'm a tad bit spoiled. Anyway, the trail I took you down before was the Sammamish River Trail and it is a paved trail that runs for miles and miles and gets tons of traffic whenever the weather is remotely supportive of it. This one skirts Lake Sammamish (yeah, I know--but we in the Northwest believe that a good name is worth using over and over. We also have streets named East and West Lake Sammamish Parkway respectively. Humptulips, on the other hand, is only the name of one small town....for reasons that really should be obvious.) and it is hard packed gravel instead of pavement; gently hilly instead of flat. The upshot is that it is used primarily by walkers and runners and occasional bicycle. I only saw about 6 people today the entire hour and a half I was out there, even though it is brilliantly sunny, near 70 degrees, and absolutely alive with birds and squirrels and other wonderfulness. (I harbor a secret belief that there is something terribly wrong with anyone who doesn't love the sound of a bird on a warm sunny day. Squirrels, on the other hand, while charming to me are nevertheless just rats with a better press agent and I cut some slack to those who don't love them as I do.)

Anyway, allow me to shamelessly attempt to dazzle you with pictures from my walk (okay, so I'm far more likely to boggle blogger than dazzle you...but let's pretend I know which way on a camera is up--I'm okay living in my delusional little world.)

I love the contrast of the bare trees and the green shoots below them in this photo, taken right alongside the trail. The astute among you may have noticed a rather serious lack of lake next to this lakeside trail....that's because the beginning of the trail doesn't actually overlook the lake. The hike in is sort of the toll for getting to see it. It's well worth it, though.

See what I mean? The foliage is still a bit winter beaten, but I love this view anyway. Here's an even better one:

I think I like this better because it reminds me a bit of my childhood at Diamond Lake, when much of the lake could be glimpsed between tall pine trees. I still remember the smell of warm pinesap that marked my this day, that smell means running free in the woods when I was 6.

We have quite a few Blue Heron around these parts and I am quite enamored of them, as I am of all long-legged birds. I realize this sounds weird....I rather imagine that's because it is. For the most part, I don't know one bird from another, aside from the "Craponicus Mycaricus" and the "Screamicus Atdawnicus" that live quite gleefully outside our bedroom windows, although I do like to listen to them in the middle of a warm day. But cranes, herons, and the like just move me for reasons I can't quite explain. That's why I was utterly delighted to see not one but at least SIX of them sitting on pilings out in the lake. Unfortunately, they were across and fence and down a blackberry-bush-clogged embankment from me and, try though I might, I could not get the kind of picture I wanted. One of them knew it, I think. He kept stretching out his wings and neck and flapping in a tauntingly picturesque manner, the little bugger. Sadly, this is the best I could do:

See, if you stare just left of center and can kind of make out something that might possibly be bird-shaped. Okay, I know. Pathetic. But they were so PRETTY!! (you'll have to trust me on this one.)

Since I am occasionally blessed with photographic luck (significantly more often than skill, in any case) I managed to take one picture with which I am utterly in love. I don't know what it stirs in me but I gasped out loud as soon as I saw it through the viewfinder (which may explain my shortage of walking partners.....). See what you think:

I have no idea what it is (okay, Smartass, yes--it's a TREE--I mean I don't know what KIND of tree) but I love love LOVE it. Maybe it's the stubborn way it grows out of the hill like that. I don't know.
You'll have noticed by now a shortage of knitting content. I am, in fact, knitting a sock but I'm not sure yet if I like it. I surrendered to the last two yarns I was working with and allowed them to remain unsocked for the time being; now I'm making the Rolling Thunder sock pattern from Knitty in Lorna's Laces. I love the pattern a lot--the top is wonderfully stretchy and soft with a really nice finish--but I'm not sure I like it in the colorway I'm using. Also, the original was beaded and, given that the sock gods are having a wonderful time at my expense lately, I opted not to begin the experiment by threading 240 beads onto a ball of yarn for a sock that would most likely end up thwarting me in some way. I also wasn't terrifically thrilled with the idea of beads pressed up against my calves all day. But I'm liking the sock thus far and, if it manages to escape the inevitable thunderbolts from above, I may even show it to you. For now, I think I'm going to go knit on the back deck. It may only be pseudospring....but I'm good with that.


  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…


    We are still knee deep in snow and had a balmy high of 23°F. It's the time of year when I have to tell my mom to shush regularly when she starts in on all the things coming up in her garden.

    But I guess I'm truly a Midwesterner at heart cuz I would rather have this than months of gray and rainy!

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger beckie said…

    I am loving the great weather as well..Not 70 degrees here- only 50ish but still sunny!
    Enjoy the walks!

  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Thank you so much for such a lovely beautiful walk. I love trees hanging on like that, with a rather deep abiding love I should add.
    I'm with you on the beads, sure, they're really pretty....but uh uh. not here. not gonna happen.


    It's 8:30 and if I don't get some knitting in tonight I may find myself screaming.....

  • At 11:53 PM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Considering I wear walking boots 90% of the time I don't think I'd like beaded sock cuffs either . Those photos are breathtaking for a townie. We have a heron who sits on the Kennet banks ( canal joining the Thames from Bristol to Reading ) . I call him Harry and call out to him when we see him on a walk to the supermarket. That is a long walk by the canal then across a little bridge over The Thames and through a little park.
    I have a blackbird in the garden who wakes me but sounds beautiful , a really vile crow and something grey and yellow. I can't say I am great with bird names but Jeff is . The two Robins don't sing ..I guess they don't. I love to see squirrels , bunnies , any wild-life . The University grounds near us is teeming. It is a famous walking area with a lake that is supposed to be haunted by a wet ghost ! A house that was once host to Charles 1st during The Civil War and "old Piney" an ancient pine-tree my Mum adored. When I lived at home we'd go for early Sunday strolls to collect Wellingtonia cones for the fire.Mum used to laugh at how like peasants we looked as she swore her Russian blood was all on the surface ..a head-scarf and she'd swear she looked like a refugee. I'd ham that up by wearing a Russian shawl as we dragged wood home . My little sister would never be caught with dirt on her hands would lay in bed . We often discoverd our cat with his rear sticking out of some bin as we came home ( often at 8am , having set off arounf 6am). Mum would call out "Pete Pilchard what are you up to" ? He'd pretend he didn't know us for about 3minutes then follow us home .

  • At 3:37 AM, Blogger lisalouryan said…

    Beautiful - yesterday in my neck of the woods we broke a previous record for cold - -42 (celsius for us, but no matter how you slice it - it's crazy cold!!)with the wind chill (without the wind chill it was -26 or so - still nuts!!)

    By the weekend it's supposed to be +2 or 3 - so Spring may eventually find us!!

  • At 5:57 AM, Blogger ccr in MA said…

    What gorgeous photos! And I can totally see the birds.

    How I envy you the pseudo-spring. Our temp right now is 5, with the wind chill making it feel like -8. We're all excited for a forecast 45 on Saturday. I would smack someone right now for 70.

    Beaded socks? I agree, I don't think I'd like the feel of that. Granted, I can be oversensitive, but still. Anyway, good luck! I need luck, too: I'm working on a sock myself, and it isn't going to be too small, it isn't it isn't it isn't!

    Or could I be in denial? I'm a bit nervous about trying it on...

  • At 7:33 AM, Blogger ambermoggie said…

    really enjoyed the walk Florence, a reminder that Spring is onj its way. It is sunny here in Scotland also:)

  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Peg said…

    Ms. K. I think that is an Arbutus Tree. We get them here on Vancouver Island and they have the most wonderful bark - it is soft and cool to the touch! But - if it is an Arbutus, it can be a messy tree, as they are dropping something - leaves, flowers, bark, etc. all year long!
    Thanks for the beautiful pics.

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Denise said…

    I was sure that was a Madrona tree, but reading Peg's comment I wasn't sure because it does look similar to an Arbutus too.

    So I googled and learned that they are one and the same! I've only seen Arbutus as a short-ish shrub (arbutus unedo) and had no idea they were related to the native Madronas.

    Peg's right-on about their messiness too!

    umm, hi! Nice to meet you, sorry to run on so much in my first comment. I've been lurking for awhile, I guess I just got carried away.


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