Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Richmond in Spring

Richmond is my hometown. I have lived for brief periods in six other towns and small cities, none of which holds a candle to this gorgeous city. And the metropolis on the James is really stunning right now. Between the spring spectacle erupting in nature, the spring cleaning and sprucing of the houses, and the gorgeous people walking, cycling, and eating ribs at Buz and Ned's Real BBQ... this town is truly at its best.

Today the kids and I took Uncle Dan for a ride around town to see some of my favorite neighborhoods and do some blossoming tree gawking. Richmond is a beautiful place, but all Dan has seen on this trip is a hospital parking lot. However, he has developed an infatuation with Bradford pear trees in said parking lot (see above.) I decided to broaden his affections for our fair city. Here are some highlights of our trip.

The ponds of Byrd Park - the fountain pond is surrounded by trees in full white blossom, the causeway between the other two ponds was so stunning we almost wrecked. If you live anywhere near Richmond and you are in love, take your beloved to Byrd Park this week. It will only make you both more in love.

VCU along Main and Cherry - more blooming trees and an abundance of happy smiling students loving the luxury of not working 9-5. Have you ever noticed that everyone looks smarter in Spring? In Autumn you look like an idiot if you're not carrying a bookbag, in Spring you look like Einstein. At least, that's the impression I got today.

East on Canal down to the fishing area - Danny was mesmerized by the railroad trestle with thousands of rivets ("Do you know how many decades it's been since they stopped using rivets?!") I am still in awe of the flood wall and warehouse conversions. The kids were gawking at the canal tour boat. And we just stopped the car and all watched in awe as an incredibly fit man cast a line so far out we thought he'd made it all the way across the James.

Church Hill - Uncle D didn't remember having seen this part of Richmond before. I told him stories from Patrick Henry to Elizabeth Van Lew to where the best smooching spot was when I was a teenager. His best response, "You know Malcolm X was a big fan of Patrick Henry." (Uncle Dan is a man of varied talents and interests. Since he came to be with us during my father's hospitalization he has taught my son about the Cisco Kid, Tic Tac Toe, and he fixed the front door. He has also taken up reading from my library including "Malcolm X Speaks." When I give him any lip about anything he's taken to calling me "whitey." )

Jackson Ward - I noticed that at one corner to the left as far as I could see was wrought iron and down to the right, beautiful brick. I remember when the Fan was a beautiful sea of red brick. Now it's a sea of pastel vomit. My mother's theological opinion is that there is a special place in hell for people who paint brick. That makes Jackson Ward a slice of heaven.

Seminary Avenue - Hurricanes and Tropical Storms have done their best, but the canopy of trees remain. Best collection of wrap-around porches in this city.

Our front yard - Last week the ChemLawn man made his yearly visit into enemy territory and brazenly rang our bell. My husband took one look at his shirt and said, "No, thanks." The guy's parting shot, "So you like those purple flowers?!?"

Those purple flowers are repugnant to the chemical grass lover, but hippies think we are the coolest gardeners ever. We have allowed our entire front yard to be taken over with wild garlic. In about two days it will be at full flower. Thousands of purple flowers on our postage stamp front yard and it looks like the cherry tree may bloom at about the same time. Last year my son said it was snowing pink when the wind blew the cherry blossoms. We'll never make Southern Living's cover but it's a little kid paradise.

Speaking of beautiful flowers, there's a rumor that one of my old buddies has been following this blog. If this is true, please don't forget to plant the impatiens in the garage gutter this year. My favorite sight of summer is in your backyard.

Happy Spring, everyone! Get out from that computer and get to frolicking!

1 comment:

VideoRose said...

i love spring & love it in rva. you forgot to mention sitting on the rocks on the river in belle isle with hollywood cemetery looming over you, kayakers & dogs splashing about. also, the far corners of the italian and japanese gardens in maymont are known to induce love. many a first kiss has happened there, no doubt.