Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cox Arboretum Metropark

Cox Arboretum is a part of Dayton's Five Rivers Metroparks system, the same system that contains previous destination Carriage Hill.  The park promises the gardens to be in full bloom these days - my house is surrounded by green trees these days, so I'm looking forward to a little bit of color. 

I pull into the parking lot, keeping a watchful eye out for Zip, the border collie who lives and works in the park.  There are signs around the grounds asking you the please not pet him, which breaks this dog-lovers heart just a little bit, but too much attention can confuse and distract the dog, and Zip's got a job to do - he's meant to chase away destructive geese, and it's hard to chase birds when he's busy being adored by strangers.  There's plenty here to distract a person, though.  Dragonflies float between the reeds while the many, many lily pads bob on the gently rippling water.  

So many turtles.  Turtles sun bathing on rocks, turtles resting on logs, and if they can't find a dry spot, they rest on top of the shallow-growing aquatic plants, poking their heads out of the water to catch the sun's rays.  A turtle scurries across the path in front of me, and plop!  Drops into the water.  I don't see where he goes.

The rock garden is full of colorful flowers and bumblebees and signs politely asking that you NOT step on the fragile plants.  The post up ahead says "This Way to the Butterfly House!" but I'm too early.  The house won't open for another week or so.  Through the screened walls I can still see the butterflies flutter by from bush to bush.

The park promises hiking, and behind the butterfly house is the entrance into the trail.  I'm immediately swallowed by daisies and black-eyed susans, trees and birdsong.  The rest of the park melts away - the busy Dayton streets are still close enough that the hum of running engines hangs as heavy in the air as the full leafy trees.  A car tire bursts, and the woods shudder.

On my way back to the entrance, I pass the best smelling seat in the house.

Back at the parking lot, there's a Zip sighting.  He's lazily making his way past a sudden rush of incoming well-dressed patrons, finding the shade cast by the roof of the educational center to be far more interesting.  I don't blame him - there are plenty of trees in this arboretum, but the sun is relentless today.  I can't touch, but I do take a picture, and appreciate the lack of geese.

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