Beckly Creek Park – Part Deux

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A gorgeous day made my Sunday morning sabbatical in Beckly Creek Park an absolute pleasure. The wildflowers show I missed. in earlier Spring carries some regret, but I’m somewhat on time for the next chorus of color in the vast wildflower patches punctuating the park as a border to the road through.DSCN1361[1]

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The wildflowers come in swaths and literal pastures extending for distances in this stunningly well-prepared place.

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So I decide Hell, I can take iff into this forest and wander a bit. It has a great entryway, lol.

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Under the canopy everything changes – the air is cooler and fresher. Walking becomes a pleasure, looking for the next photo opportunity.

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Beautiful bursts of bright sunlight are hugely contrasted as they light up the forest.

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As always, at least when walking with me, if there is some creek to look at, chances are excellent I’ll do the looking. 😉  It was really brilliant this morning from this perspective of a post-holocaust flood of sorts. 😉

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But further down took my breath away.

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A look in the other direction, same creek, lol.

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Pretty sweet.

 

 

More on Louisville’s Newest Park(s)

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The Parkands of Floyd’s Fork is a gorgeous conglomeration of other parks: Beckly Creek Park, at the entry on Shelbyville Road, begins a park-touring Odyssey designed for all 4 seasons of Nature in an incredibly beautiful Kentucky at its best. The entire $120 Million donated effort is nearly complete, having begun in 2012 the process of removing invasive species and replacing them in great huge, gorgeous swaths with local wildflowers and grasses. The volunteers who performed so much of the early work deserve world class applause. The result of everyone involved’s hard work is a real sense of Perfection.

This park has recently become a center of my medical rehabilitation from a crazy cosmic series of physical injuries. The gorgeously heavy early Summer air supports the jungle -like growth which is a Kentucky forest in Summer. Consistent downpours and spectacular thunder and lightning effects long into the night, sometimes still rumbling in the morning, make for a green environment in ideal growing conditions. Forests are incredibly dense, often featuring unique species such as Kentucky Coffee Trees, the common but lovely state tree, The Tulip Poplar, Hickory and the stately, huge and colorful Sycamore’s who lighten the already-rich environment.

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And, of course, the park is named for the creek which passes through – sometimes raging, sometimes still – the creek is the heartbeat.

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I was lucky enough to be around while smaller creeks feeding Floyd’s Fork took on a serenely luscious look.

001Visiting the creek often in other locations every trip I make, I discover an old Sycamore snag protruding out as foreground for a still-life of calm riverhood.

DSCN1333[1]The history of flow rates and rushing water is easily enough spotted, even – or especially? – when the water recedes..

DSCN1331[1]Even having lowered, the water level still satisfies the gurgling reputation and surprises with its volume.

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The most remarkable part of all is how the hundred miles of bike trails – a cyclist’s paradise with an eventual circling route around the entire city – follow the creek itself. Paddlers, kayaks, bicycles, fishermen – all are welcome and pretty much all return like me to savor this bountiful Natural Feast.

Next post, we will visit the Interpretive Center, the great playground and the stone work of some breathtaking specialists in a park which spared no expense in meeting craftsmanship excellence.

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2016 What a Huge Chaw!! My Cheek Hurts

A “chaw” of tobacco is the nasty lump of brown ruffage hillbillies and baseball players chuck inside their cheeks for a variety of reasons which never include addiction. The larger the “chaw”, the more distended the cheek and the less it resembles the original human’s face.

I can hardly imagine a better description of 2016.

It is now New Year’s Eve – well, New Year’ Day by now, ha ha – and we are all waiting impatiently to welcome some relief.. Wow! Do we ever need it.
Should I be serious and say what I believe???….. or simply take advantage of my friends’ good nature and wish them well, fully and correctly expecting a genuine smile in return? I’m definitely holding off on Part 2 of my ego-stroking baseball tale – of my not so fab pitching career, lol – but something in me insists on not letting it get away. Later for that. I guess I will perform my usual autobiographical crap meet to no one’s surprise and just supply some thoughts on what this past year meant to me.
 
Whatever else can be said, 2016 was a tremendously active year for me, welcomed quietly in Louisville just days after closing out a visit to San Diego and my daughter Alena. The reunion with Alena’s Mom, Alice and my own ex-wife was also a celebration of sorts at the time. Typical of my last few years, we were celebrating my ability to visit in the first place, lol, if nothing else. My near miss with just plain dying offered enough spiritual juice to let us all express the love and respect we each have for one another and to dismiss any remaining rubs in favor of enjoying life itself. It had worked great. The incredible turkey gravy put together by Greg’s mother and new Mother in Law to Alena, Julie Gorton, highlighted a Christmas brunch after a night spent out at she and Gary’s place. Yes, I ended up just plain drinking it, lol. Like a boss!! It’s funny how the greatest tastes are so memorable. Now and then we have to thank The Creator for slipping us such a great benefit as a sense of taste. That gravy was sent straight from Olympus, man. 😉
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4 months later, I was back in San Diego with a brand new suit, some killer red Converse all star low cut Chuck Taylors, about 20 more extra pounds with my patented Extroversion Jones re-kicking back in. It was very much a Communion for the Ages all on its own, this time for my family and my newly-extended family and a huge dollop of friends of all of those. Weddings are an accounting nightmare, and not just financially, lol. The number of happy faces you want to know more about from the bottom of your heart runs over at the top and just spills everywhere. The extravagance of Soul of weddings and the stuff surrounding them has been my closest brush with the literal experience of Paradise. I cannot imagine a better time.
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sniff, sniff   😉
View More: http://photoandiamo.pass.us/alenaandgreg

4 months after that, I experienced another selfishly wonderful event – a Reunion with my classmates from 50 years back – Owensboro High School’s Class of 1966. Speaking of soulful extravagance and the good fortune of living in our current times!!! I am sure everyone feels their particular class was somehow special. I am equally sure that is a good thing for all concerned. (Note also, my red Converse All Stars are still in bidness.)

001I adore this group of people with a huge heart. So many of us were integral in the formation of our personalities, many from 12 years old and upwards. So many are appreciative, therefore, of the work we supplied one another. That we remain actively involved in spite of our various winding paths to where we find ourselves today is a choice made easy. We not only actually really like each other, we also respect one another. The love at this event, punctuated by the uber funky stylings of Steve Bare and the reunited Avrons, ha ha, was off the charts. I found it a virtually Peak Experience and one I personally really badly needed in these days of he seeming Permanent Rehabilitation I find myself enduring yet again.

We misbehaved really, really well. I went home partially sober, lol. Even made ot to the class breakfast the day after!!

001We were also reminded how ephemeral this can all be……with a list of those departed before us. I saw tears while reading this scroll.

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We reminisced about our old friends from the past………….

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LOL, good, I mean, really good times.We got lucky with so many fine and gracious ladies, it has to be said. And, Lordy, we had a zillion military veterans. 1966, duh, lol.

 

So, a week after this memory and soul extravaganza, I went back under the knife for a 10 hour long surgical procedure where I found myself almost croak and from which I am now successfully making progress in yet another rebab.

 

In the meantime, everyone who was fun in rock and roll – except for the incredible Keith Richards, anyway, lol – went and died. David Bowie, Prince, George Michael – the list is tiring to even look at.
And, later, The Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States. Now that’s what I call closing out the year with a bang.
Other than that, it was fairly boring, lol.
  

Portland’s Chinese Garden – Part 1

It’s been a while – 2008 – since I began this series on Portland’s Chinese Garden. In the meantime, as is the case with any garden, much has occurred. A very few plants failed, a few were relocated, some overly ripe stuff was replaced based purely on taste. For a notable period, a leak was found in the water feature part of the garden, chased down and then repaired – a relatively constant plague or at least a danger, for almost any water feature, anywhere.

Generally, however, little has changed overall. Eventually, the huge Weeping Willow will become problematic with its invasive root systems and the softer wood becoming perhaps snow – or ice – laden during some Winter storm and affecting its shape. But all in all, it has matured very gracefully into a focal point destination inside a gorgeous city.

I have revised some of these older posts, tinkering around with pictures and script, but altogether I am very happy with these posts. I hope they give as much pleasure as I got from writing them and from helping construct this masterpiece. This series deals with some of the tales of its emergence out of the city block-wide big hole where it began.

The Portland Chinese Garden was a combined effort between a company from Portland, Oregon’s sister city, the incredible Sou Zhou, and, well basically, the Mayor of Portland. It was at various points a hot political potato with mounting criticisms from all the usual political-type sources (which usually means an opposing party, naturally) in an era of average or worse resources, following the ‘Dot Com” bust which negatively impacted Portland having long since gone “all in” on high tech. However, Portland was even then showing the strength of a reasonably well-planned expansion, complete with very innovative and successful local corporations, such as Intel, Nike and a million smart subsidiary businesses to Microsoft just up the road in Seattle.

We spent an interesting meeting in the Mayor’s office once, proposing an idea that she accepted with joy and hopefulness – naming various trees and baubles for the largest donors. For a price, of course. 😉  Well, it worked. But my favorite interactions were always with the Chinese who also worked hard on this lovely project. Constant smiles, elaborate bows and exclamations, tons of laughter and the joy of sharing and cooperation made it entirely special to me.

I’m going to recirculate an entire series of Chinese Garden construction factoids and tales from its construction, which I was integral to. It was easily the neatest gig I was ever a part of and I was fairly high up in the work and liaison stream, then working for Teufel’s Nurseries, a $40 million a year business in early 1996.

Enjoy a ride through some of the highlights of this project.

Oh – by the way – Portlanders are inordinately proud of this Garden. It gets heavy traffic 12 months a year.

(You can enlarge each picture by clicking – sometimes twice.)

Set solidly right in the very depths of downtown Portland, Oregon, the Chinese Garden is serene and mind-boggling at the same time. The fact that the locals understand this is implicit – basically placed smack in the middle of the Chinese District, it has a congruity within the city itself. Leaving the Garden, you can go shop at stores specializing in Chinese items or eat at any number of bordering restaurants. Portland is an immensely satisfying walking town, although an umbrella is de rigueur during the drippy Winter months.

But of course, that is not the entire story, and especially as it relates to this blog. That the Garden is a gorgeous feast for the eyes and senses is pretty much a no brainer. I will address that pictorially. How it relates here is my own small involvement with it and it may take a post or two to finish.

At the time, I was living in Portland and working for Teufel’s Landscaping, a very large and successful nursery and landscaping firm who counted their clients among those they have worked for or supplied for over 100 years. Among their clients were the Nike and Microsoft Campuses, golf courses, Intel’s booming Portland base and countless others. In residential landscaping, I have myself worked for some notable people. When the mayor of Portland decided she wanted this Garden in conjunction with Portland’s sister city, they tried and eventually found the approximately $12 million it took to make it work. I salute Vera Katz here and now for her wonderful addition to the city and her bulldog-like tenacity in seeing it come to pass. You da gal, Vera.

Well, Teufel’s got a contract to do a number of things under the project. Once again, my good friend John Stone was instrumental in all this and was my supervisor. John’s rather bizarre mandate was to provide the local landscaping expertise dealing with irrigating the grounds, locating all of the plant materials, installing the soils and planting the plants for a project no one wanted to look “brand new”. Naturally, what this meant was that fully mature plants were to be supplied which matched the specifications and artistic needs supplied by the Chinese portion of the engineering and landscape architect class who basically designed it. It implied some stuff you just couldn’t make up, it was so far fetched. For one example, I accompanied John in an expedition down to a plant who specialized in fabricating chains. Why? Because as we found and excavated the trees, we began seeing some intimidating issues with their weight. The root balls on some of these behemoths were in the tens of tons. We already knew we would be using a 180 ton crane for placement – at the time the largest vehicle made for street travel.