Last Thursday I loaded the car with luggage, camera stuff, and the kids (dogs), turned on my GPS and began the trek to Dayton, OH to spend the 4th of July weekend with my sweetie's side of the family. My sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, some who I had not seen in several years. The drive was unpleasant, too much traffic, (probably due to the upcoming holiday weekend) too much construction, and way too many trucks changing lanes causing those trailing behind to suddenly brake....no, not pleasant. We did arrive safely and I guess in the grand scheme of life that is what's important.
Friday was a beautiful day so we decided to visit the Cox Arboretum, a place that neither Mary Jo or Jim had visited in many years. They both are quite aware that I love to visit beautiful places with camera in tow, thus it appeared to be the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
As we drove toward a parking spot I was amazed there were no gates, no fenced off entrances, and no charge to enter and enjoy this oasis in the middle of Dayton, OH. Ponds and small waterfalls greeted us as we began our stroll through the arboretum.
This land was donated by James M. Cox and family and opened in 1962. You may be familiar with the Cox family. Their enterprises consist of 4 main divisions; newspapers, cable television, television, and radio broadcasting. Along with continuing support from the Cox family and tax levies this Arboretum remains free to the public, all 189 acres.
As you continue walking, a cedar built tower with 189 steps (and yes, I climbed to the top) nestled in the middle of the conifer garden, makes its appearance.
After the trip up and down without incident, we searched for the butterfly garden. My heart skips a beat when I hear "butterfly garden", but I guess it was too early in the summer for most butterflies. We only found one variety, the Limenitis Arthemis. (I think). I checked google and that is what I came up with, surely it has a more common name. Chime in if you know its name.
The butterfly house was filled with beautiful flower plantings, obviously to keep the inhabitants happy and well fed. One of my favorites was the old-fashioned Holly Hock.
As we stepped out of the butterfly house I spotted this unusual flower....they referred to it as a Passion Flower. I am sure it has a botanical name, but I'll stick with passion flower. Honestly it reminds me of an alien space ship. Don't ya think??!!
Continuing our journey we stopped at another pond that was buzzing with dragonflies. Now you know if you are a photographer how difficult these captivating flying damsels are to capture in your lens, flitting from place to place. Not pausing long enough to even focus before they are gone. But....I got lucky, the double winged variety seemed to enjoy landing on the reeds by the water's edge, resting there long enough for me to focus and snap.
We almost tripped over Mr. Chipmunk, I think he was meditating with his hands held tightly, zenned out.
We spotted a bale of turtles (ie a bunch of turtles) in the ponds, swimming with heads bobbing but didn't see any turtles basking in the sun until right before we left the park. He was perched on top of the wood branch with his back feet dangling, happy as a clam.
A delightful afternoon and the last time I saw the sun for the rest of the holiday weekend. It was cloudy all day Saturday and rained all day Sunday and Monday. Mother Nature forgot that it was the summer 4th of July weekend. Even with the rain, I had a great time. Being with family for a holiday is magic.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” ~ Desmond Tutu