Strybing Arboretum in the Rain

Self had been wanting to see the “Ancient Plant Garden” that had been touted in an article in the Chronicle from two months ago.  The article talked about tree ferns and gingkos, “ancient conifers,” and “hadrosaur footprints.”  Which was how she, hubby, and son ended up in Golden Gate Park yesterday afternoon, meandering along the (somewhat muddy) trails in Strybing Arboretum and looking at camellias and manzanitas and ferns and Japanese anemones.  Self couldn’t tell where the “Ancient Plant Garden” was, perhaps it was the area with the pond filled with plant scum?  It rained in the middle of their perambulations, but it was still a good afternoon.  Here are a few observations from the family’s first foray into the park since (gulp) son was in grade school !!@@##

Tree in Strybing Arboretum

Tree in Strybing Arboretum

  • The road leading to Stowe Lake was made so much narrower than self remembered, perhaps because of a proliferation of SUVs and vans.
  • In Strybing Arboretum, there are almost no ducks and tons more squirrels. Moreover, these squirrels are very droll animals. One charged straight at us as if heading for a collision, then swerved at the last minute, scampering into some underbrush.
  • There is an astonishing variety of camellias, some looking like small trees. Note to self:  must return in the spring, when the camellias will be in bloom.
  • Self thinks the plants in the Australian section are neat, do not look as if they need much water or care, and will hopefully grow in her garden. She took down the names of at least 10 different Australian and New Zealand plant species.
  • There is a small stand of redwoods, somewhere in the arboretum.  Also, magnificent specimens of manzanita, with intricately curving trunks.
  • Self was, for once, appropriately dressed, in many layers of clothing (but no hat) and boots. Son was wearing a new red windbreaker that had flourescent stripes down the front and every time she tried to take a picture of him, he would appear as a ghostly shadow, with two bright white parallel streaks which self guessed must be in the vicinity of the chest region.
  • The new de Young Museum, all brown and sleek, is a marvel. Self loves that its shape is asymmetrical:  she had to work hard to keep her jaw from dropping.
  • On Stowe Lake, there are small brown ducks and green-necked mallards and many gulls and also one huge ugly monster with a mottled red face that looks like a duck with a horrible case of acne.  This creature was so frightening that son almost didn’t want to throw it any bread (Self had brought three slices from home, for just this purpose, but a sign in Strybing Arboretum said we weren’t allowed to feed the ducks there.  There was no such sign on Stowe Lake, however).  He later relented.
  • Self, son, and hubby walked down the exact same stone steps down which she and hubby used to lug son in his stroller: the steps leading from Stowe Lake to the Japanese Tea Garden.  She remembered every step of the way, the way hubby would grab the front end and she would hold on to the handles.  Hubby said, “That was another life.”  Self thinks it was the same life, and that it all seemed as if it had just happened a moment ago.  Yes, it was she grabbing the stroller handlebars, but who is this tall young man walking beside her?  Isn’t that the baby that used to sit in the stroller?  This is another person, entirely.  This is a miracle.  There’s no other way to describe it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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