Pennsylvania, Virginia (Shenandoah Scenic Route)
Arun and I feel blessed to have been able to stay with our wonderful friend John Warren Kraus, his wife Ellen and his lovely family in Chester Springs (Pennsylvania). John and I met on a flight around a year back. It is amazing how such strong bonds can form in the most unexpected places. He and his family were extremely hospitable to us. As part of his warmth and affection, John took us for a walk around the Binky Lee Preserve, behind his house. He caught the pulse of us nature lovers and we much appreciated his thoughtfulness.
The sun was bright and the spring air, cool. The unbelievably blue skies and sprawling fields were refreshing and walking through this picturesque landscape gave a feeling of expanse and freedom. The stark yellow of the forsythia bushes in full bloom along with the pure white blossoms of the wild cherry were breathtaking.
We stopped at a little water creek and as John and Arun chatted, I clicked pictures (the click of the “blood root” flower in the featured image brought to my notice that excellent pictures can be taken with the Moto G4 phone I use. This leg of the trip was before our visit to Smoky Mountains). This was followed by a small meditation together, with the music of the flowing water wrapping us in its tenderness. It was here that Arun spotted a little lobster like creature that we all were rather fascinated with. Later, Ellen brought out a book to help us identify this. It was a crayfish (picture in gallery -*http://www.muditationmoments.com/2017/06/dance-of-creation/).
John shared how he loved this stroll and that living around the area, such spots are often taken for granted and hence not frequented. I am sure most of us are familiar with this. No matter where one is living, even in the busiest of cities, there are always pockets of nourishing “green” and little scenic spots to enjoy. Appreciation and gratitude change the view of the spaces we are in.
We were also taken for a beautiful drive along the rolling hills of Chester County. John was kind enough to stop every time I saw some clusters of wild flowers. There were fields of yellow with the blooming fig buttercups around the wet areas, particularly. As John introduced me to his sister (Betty) who is a keen gardner, he joked in his peculiar witty way, “If left to Mudita, she would come and plant all types of weeds in your garden.” At this, Arun and I often have a hearty laugh.
The tree (in the picture above) laden with pink blossom stood with drooping branches outside John’s home. He told me it is called the “weeping cherry”. Quite a contradiction – the weeping cherry laughing in a full pink bloom!
Seeing us both awestruck by nature’s gifts, John suggested we drive towards the Smoky mountains through the Shenandoah scenic route. If it were not for this route, I doubt we would have seen a black bear in the wild (photo in Dance of Creation*).
The judas tree lined both sides of the road celebrating spring. My grandmother helped me identify this flower clad tree and shared that her father had grown this in their garden in Baramulla (Kashmir) in the 1940’s! Arun and I stopped at several points to enjoy the fresh air and spring colours of Shenandoah.
Pictures in the gallery below have not been edited to maintain original colours for botanical reference.