Queen Victoria Arrival

Little did they know what lay in store….

Pam and I walked from Cheri Down park this morning of February 2020 to Jetty Park where we were fortuitous witnesses to the arrival of the Cunard ship Queen Victoria on an 84-day cruise around South America.

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I used my IPhone 7 to capture the event. Understanding the context of a ship’s arrival opens a whole new world. Standing on the pier I researched the voyage.

Here is the list of ports on the itinerary. These include the Caribbean, Central America and many of the same ports visited on the 2016 Oceania cruise Pam and I enjoyed from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hamburg, Germany
Southampton, England
Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Port Canaveral, Florida
 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Bridgetown, Barbados
Manaus, Brazil
Santarem, Brazil
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Montevideo, Uruguay
Buenos Aires, rgentina
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentinia
Cape Horn, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile
Puerto Montt, Chile
San Antonio, Chile
Coquimbo, Chile
Arica, Chile
Callao (Lima), Peru
 Manta, Ecuador
 Panama City, Panama
Panama Canal, Panama
Cartagena, Columbia
Willemstad, Dutch Antiles
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ponta Delgada, Azores
Southampton, England
Hamburg, Germany

Little did they or we know the happy voyage was destined to terminate and return.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Weekday Visit to Sapsucker Woods

A far-seeing, nature loving group of individuals set aside this prime swamp-land in 1954. January 8, 2021, it is surrounded by homes, a major road (the unluckily-named Route 13), an airport. Though the trails are narrow, I am happy to report everyone encountered (six individuals, though two were encountered twice on the circular trails) wore mask and demonstrated consideration.

Swamps are navigated on wooden walkways. Here are a few IPhone 7 snaps from the entrance.

Today I noticed for the first time this glistening sculpture with a plaque reading, in part, “Kent Ullberg, Swedish, b 1945, ‘Invitation of the Dance’, 2017. Stainless steel.” It was donated by the billionaire Imogene Johnson shortly before her death in 2018 at the age of 87. Mrs. Johnson was a Cornell University alumna. She and her husband were huge donors to the university, having met there as undergraduates.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Late Autumn Ithaca 8

A Dangerous Game

Hard on the Ithaca City Cemetery is our version of the crookedest street. Cascadilla Park road ascends East Hill as a series of switchbacks, charming homes cut into the hillside. A foot path overlooks the gorge, seen here.

Today, two young teens used the hill bottom for skateboarding. Taking turns on watch, each sped onto intersecting University Avenue. A dangerous game.

A brass plaque commemorates Daniel D Tompkins on eponymous Tompkins County courthouse. When the county was formed, 1817, Daniel Tompkins was a former governor of New York and Vice President to James Monroe. Tompkins never visited “his” county, there is no other connection between him. His family and life was rooted in eastern part of New York, around “The City.”

“Maternidad”, Seneca Street Garage, a mural by Nick Gilbert was the 2014 winner of 2014 @culturaithaca Latinx Mural Design Contest.

Mosaic Mural “Feels Like Ithaca” by Annamarie Zwack, Seneca Street Garage Also known as “Spirit of Ithaca”

I am not finding the attribution for this undersea idyll, also on the Seneca Street garage adjoining “Feels Like Ithaca.”

This completes my Sunday afternoon walk around Ithaca.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Late Autumn Ithaca 7

Hillside Rest

We pick up this walk through Ithaca from the December 23rd post, next to a waterfall and the “Theory Center,” starting with the spiffed up rear façade of the Cornell Health Building, renamed from Gannett Health after a right wing newspaper publishing magnate. The building fronts “Ho Plaza” thus carries an address with unfortunate allusions, named for a distinguished Cornell alumna who’s family name is Ho. I included this building in appreciation to Cornell University and students for being good neighbors during this COVID-19 pandemic, controlling the virus.

Today, I avoided the views of the popular Lib Hill to minimize personal contact. Instead, descending the hill on footpaths, found myself on Stewart Avenue and the eastern side of City Cemetery.

Enjoying the solitude and long shadows of our northern afteroon.

Traversed a gate of hemlock branches….

Admired random monuments. By the way, George Washington Schuyler, whose family anecdote I shared in a previous post, rests here under an impressive stone. Not this one.

More afternoon light, fallen leaves, hemlocks.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Our Solo Thanksgiving Feast

We spread our Thanksgiving goodies over three meals for our 2020 solo celebration.

Breakfast: Homemade Apple Pie (Grannie Smith Apples), Coffee with foamed milk and cinnamon
Lunch: Relish plate, sour cream onion dip, potato chips (avocado oil), Irish cheddar cheese and crackers, Dr. Frank Pino Noir
The roses are the last blooms from our garden.   

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hammond Hill Walk V

Facing the sun

I close this walk at the turnaround point, the high meadow, with a fireworks display of daisies.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hammond Hill Walk IV

“We Had A Great Ski — Tob”

New since I was last here, this bench, made from local “blue” limestone dedicated to the memory of cross country skiing.

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Here are sounds you may experience while sitting here on a summer afternoon.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hammond Hill Walk III

High Meadow

After birdsong, open spaces are an unexpected wonders of these walks. Nowhere listed on the map, and on private lands adjoining the forest, this meadow comes upon the hiker’s consciousness gradually as the trail approaches.

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I have seen those gigantic seed heads here and there and never taken the time to research and identification. Do you recognize it?

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To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hammond Hill Walk II

Diamond Strands

Hammond Hills walks are a solo affair for me. Pam joined in days past, summer and winter, and fell out of love with the lack of flowing water and bugs. The pleasures of the place, for me, are the miles and miles of varied trails, the sounds among silences, unexpected vistas from hilltops.

The trails themselves are unlovely, beaten down by mountain bike tires or grooved by skis. On the hills I am always on alert, listening for the sounds of bodies hurtling down. The bureaucrats called this “mixed use.” It could be worse, motors are excluded. Today there were two bikers.

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A sprinkling of wild rose.

The song of the Hermit Thrush, a sound of diamond strands, always stops me. Here are two 30 seconds clips.

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To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Hammond Hill Walk I

Buttercup Meadow

Hammond Hill New York State Forest is visible as an alluring height from many places of Tompkins and Cortland Counties. It is not on the list of tourist destinations, very popular for locals to mountain bike, and cross country ski at an advanced level for the steepness of some trails that wend over this high hill.

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The beauty of this wildflower meadow took me by surprise. The pink flower is a Bouncing Bet, AKA Soapwart. Scientific name Saponaria officinalis. The genera name is from the latin root for soap, “sapo.” The juice of the plant mixed with water can whip up a lather. Thus, also its common name, Soapwart.

The meadow is almost entirely buttercup. Click me for a post about a member of the buttercup family that is the first to flower.

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To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills