It’s one thing to recover from the flu in the apartment, where the most energy you expend is in walking from the bedroom to the kitchen and making coffee. It’s quite another to go outside and hike down to a river and back up. And what I mean by “hike” is to walk down about 10 stone steps, wander along the banks for about ten feet, start coughing, pull yourself up a steep embankment, look for a dry spot of spring dirt, sit, and calm your heart while still coughing.
I am not good at convalescing.
But I did enjoy myself. I went to the Indianapolis Art Center. It’s near where I live and they have the ARTSPARK, a 12-acre landscape of interactive sculptures placed amongst wildlife and vegetation. It was designed by Michael Graves (yes, THE Michael Graves) and is one of my favorite places to visit when I want to relax.
I debated whether or not to walk down to the White River banks because I knew I was still weak, but the stone steps seemed easy enough. Once on the banks, I could smell the watery decay that accompanies decomposing vegetation. Not pleasant, but not bad, especially since there were no flies or mosquitoes this early in the season. I focused on the lazy flow of the river and the trees that grew from the banks. My sandals sunk into mud at times and I teetered on toppling over at other times as I stepped on roots and uneven ground. But it was worth it because I found this incredible tree with huge roots spreading and sinking into the Indiana clay.
I love huge trees and if they have exposed roots, so much the better. The roots hint at the mysteries of the underworld and of the character of the tree. Once, in Tennessee, I met a great old tree with exposed gnarled roots that demanded attention. This tree stood guardian to the wood beyond. I felt like I was in the presence of ancient wisdom.
It didn’t take too long for me to succumb to coughing, so I hiked back up the embankment—not all that far really; just a few feet—and sat down to rest and cough. A few minutes later, I left…slowly…to avoid more coughing fits. On the way out, I stopped for a few shots of the Twisted House sculpture by John McNaughton.
It was the spring daffodils that popped against the dreary background that I really loved, though.
I slowly made my way out of the ARTSPARK and to my car where I drove home, fixed a cup of afternoon coffee, and relaxed from my excursion outdoors. Hopefully today I will be able to do more because I refuse to miss Spring.