May 8, 2016

Chickies Rock Hike

Chickies Rock trail
In the midst of a very rainy and dreary week, I took the short hike up to Chickies Rock to take pictures. I've been there countless times, but I never take it for granted, or tire of it, because this is the view:

Chickies Rock Panorama
I took a telephoto lens this time, and focused on the bridges downriver.  Here's the modern Rt. 30 span, with the Veterans Memorial Bridge that has often been the focus of my artwork in the background:

View from Chickies Rock
 The lens also let me capture this hawk in flight:

Hawk over Susquehanna River
In May the woods along the trail are bursting with new growth, like this Royal Paulownia tree, Paulownia tomentosa, in full bloom.

Royal Paulownia tree in bloom
The blooms are high in the tree, but heavy rains had knocked some of them down, and I was able to get a macro shot of a bud:
Royal Paulownia bud macro
And a macro image of the interior of a flower:

Royal Paulownia flower, macro
Royal Paulownia is a non-native, fast growing "trash" tree, but I've got a soft spot for them, mostly because of their gigantic leaves.  I used the leaves in a mono print and a cyanotype print in my artquilt Royal Paulownia.  In 2006 this work was shown in the Museum of Fine Art in Bishkek, Kyrgzstan.
Royal Paulownia, by Sue Reno
Royal Paulownia
Still looking up, I saw several tent caterpillar nests, although it didn't seem to be a heavy infestation this year.

Tent caterpillar nest
The caterpillars can be destructive, but in a macro view they have their own beauty.

Tent caterpillar macro

The fresh green leaves of a chestnut oak are very appealing:
Chestnut oak leaves
And I suppose there's some beauty to be found in devil's tear thumb, Persicaria perfoliata, even though it is the bane of my gardening existence: 

Devil's tearthumb

 The fox grapes, Vitus labrusca, are just starting to leaf out:
Fox grape leaves
And the heucheras are setting buds:

Heuchera leaves

 Mayapples are an attractive native ground cover, especially appealing when dotted with raindrops:
Mayapple leaves

 I used mayapple leaves for cyanotype prints in Deer and Mayapple, part of my Flora and Fauna series:
Deer and Mayapple, by Sue Reno
Deer and Mayapple
The fuzzy leaves of common mullien, Verbascum Thapsus, also catch the rain.  It's a biennial, so this specimen will shoot up a tall flowering stalk later in the summer.
Common mullein leaves
Here's some small pink daisies or fleabane flowers--I haven't tracked down the exact ID, but that doesn't abate my appreciation:

Pink daisies

 And surely there's some beauty in the reddish color of these new poison leaves, if only in its effectiveness in warning me to stay away:
Poison ivy leaves

Poke, or pokeweed, Phytollaca americana, is also emerging right now.  These shoots are just a bit past the stage where there are edible.  It's one of those deals where you have to catch them young and boil them in several changes of water to avoid toxicity--the mature plants are definitely inedible.  I've eaten them a few times and enjoyed them with no ill effects.  Sometimes old-timers have them for sale at the local farmer's market.
Poke leaves emerging
This is another favorite plant/garden weed, partly because of the purple berries I used to make "ink" as a child, and partly from admiration of it's persistence.  The seeds can lay dormant for decades if need be.  I used the leaves in one of my first artquilts, Poke Salad:
And also in the Cul-de-Sac, where they grew in abundance after a bit of woods was clear-cut:
The Cul-de-Sac, by Sue Reno
The Cul-de-Sac

Part of the premise for my ongoing, self-directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River, is that every viewing of Susquehanna River is unique.  I visited Chickies Rock last fall, when the leaves were just starting to turn:
Week 17 image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 17 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
I used that imagery to make my week 17 panel:

Week 17 panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 17 panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
This week I focused on the view downriver, and chose this perspective as my inspiration image:

Week 45 image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 45 image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
 Here's my week 45 panel, 6" x 12", wool and silk, needlefelted and stitched:
Week 45 panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 45 panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
I'm coming down the homestretch on this project. While on the one hand I'm considering making road trips to view the Susquehanna in far-away locales, this week's outing proves that adventure is a function of attention and observation.

You can follow along with the 52 Ways to Look at the River project on your platform of choice:
Twitter feed:
Instagram: sue_reno_studio

I've added a "52 Weeks" tab at the top header so you can track the project back to the beginning.

And as always, thanks for reading and commenting.  I always try to reply to comments personally and individually, provided there is contact information available.  

1 comment:

Franki Kohler said...

Thanks for the tour Sue. Looks like a great hike that can provide almost endless material for your work.