This morning we went to the garden and had a nice guided tour led by E. On Saturdays we aren’t as efficient in our strolling, we wander around, and hit the spots that aren’t as direct as our Wednesday exercise walk is. Since E knows this place inside and out, we let her lead, and we get a new glimpse each time into the nature walks she takes with her classmates a couple of times a week. She’ll run ahead, and then pause for us to catch up, reach down to stroke a leaf and say “this is really great lamb’s ear”, or point cautiously to a thorned oddity and tell us that the plant is really well suited to warding off unwanted predators. This morning she took us through the Chinese garden (pictured above, and also below – early this spring) and after posing for this shot she ran ahead yelling breathlessly over her shoulder to hurry – something about a magical golden stone. We had no idea what she was talking about, but then she was around the bend, gone from sight. After we crossed over the bridge we saw her kneeling on one of the stone images in the path and she pointed to the bird and his golden eye. Apparently the original eye had come loose – she had noticed it one day awhile back – and then, on a return trip, they discovered the staff had repaired it and the new eye was golden! It is now a very magical thing to the kids, and she was delighted to share it with us. She also pointed out the other stones they had moved around, and the repairs they had done, and if you looked closely enough you could see the newer grout, the less worn stone, and we knew she was right. I wish I had the time in my day to sit on my knees and study these patterns in the sidewalk. I’ve always loved them – when I lived in Genoa they were abundant, and I have a sketchbook full of their intricate designs. I love the fact that my daughter spends a part of her week studying then as well. We have this love of detail in common.
A bit later she fingered some tiny berries on a branch. “Beautyberries” – and she was right, and we followed with the requisite “don’t put those in your mouth.” She sighed and said “Of course, Dad, because we just don’t know for sure if they are poisonous of not.” We dutifully fell back in line behind our most knowledgeable tour guide.
And here are some lovely fall shots to cozy up with this evening (well, perhaps not the thorny ones…)