Green Acres is the place for me!

Seriously, this park is named Green Acres!  Reviews of it sounded fantastic, with reports of alligator sightings and meandering trails that you can literally get lost on.  The reality wasn’t quite as good, but it was still a really nice place.  If you want to get there, though, ignore Google’s directions.  The place they send you does not exist, but you’ll likely find this as you try to get there.  There is parking on 41st Street, at the very end.

I’ve been trying to get more of a theme together when I post, but this one is really just a collection of nice images that I captured while walking.  There is one main trail that connects the park from end to end, which is wide and tame and easy to walk.  At a couple of places, gates across this trail keep cars out, so you will have to step around on a smaller path.  The easterly side of the park has other trails branching off, which seem like they’ll go somewhere, but they loop back to the main one or to the playground pretty quickly.  The westerly side has no branching trails because the main trail is elevated and goes between houses and delicate wetland areas.  They were pretty dry today, but I could see where alligators could be there at times.

Alongside the trail was this bamboo and tree screen, giving one of the yards a little more privacy while looking so much nicer than a privacy fence!  Of course, a fence wouldn’t do much good here anyway, since the trail itself is close to 6′ high.  This is a beautiful and ecological solution to a tricky problem.  In the US, we tend to think of our back yards as places of privacy, but when they open on to a public park, that privacy can be lost.  The benefits of having a lot that backs onto a nature preserve are huge, including the easy access to green spaces and knowing that you will never have some strange eyesore of a building in your back yard.

For all the years I have been seeing redbuds by the side of the road and peeking out from under the canopy, I never realized they had these pods.  Apparently these things are edible when they first appear in the fall and winter, and look and taste similar to peas.  It would take some soaking to do anything with these ones, though.  The pods themselves are dry and papery, and the seeds inside are pretty hard.  It appears that the flowers are also edible, which everyone but me knew already.  I just never expected such utility from such beauty!

The delicacy of the flowers next to these somewhat harsh pods is oddly wonderful.  On many of the branches, the pods were so thick that the blossoms could barely be seen, which I think is rather unusual.  It seems like this winter was so short that the pods didn’t fall off before the buds began coming out.  After all, we are just barely into February and the buds are out and the temperatures are already reaching the upper 80s.  I don’t believe those groundhogs about having six more weeks of winter at all.

The colors on these redbud trees right now are so beautiful together.  The pods have pick up on both the magenta of the buds and the brown of the wood.  It also helps that they are against a mottled green and blue background which makes the magenta buds seem all the more vivid.  For all that we try to make our own spaces come alive with color, it seems to me that nature always outdoes us with scenes of beauty like this one.  Is it because we are afraid to approach this vibrancy in our own design?  Or would it just look fake if we did?

I love the things that grow on trees and logs.  These mushrooms look like steps and shelters, or maybe condos for chipmunks. That green moss on the log just makes me swoon with delight!  Then again, so do these ferns growing in the crook of a tree.  The curl of the fronds is absolute perfection!

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