Color me… Philly!

It was not love at first sight! Philly failed to impress me in our very first meeting. I had seen America in movies and Philadelphia was no where near that picture! But soon nature took the challenge to surprise me in every season and I gradually fell in love with Philly!

On east coast we can distinctly see all four seasons…Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter… My favorite seasons here are spring and fall…it rains here almost all summer… 😦 After Christmas and New Year, winter is grey and white…boring season of the year! I love snow but when it is not snowing its grey and dark…The weather is cold and you have to wear at least 2 layers of shirt, sweaters, jacket and scarf…Life changes here according to the nature’s mood swings 🙂 Sometimes I feel like Philly is a big canvas and nature paints it on its whim during each season.

Fall colors at Chestnut Hill West College

I came here in fall. It is the time of the year when there is ‘right amount’ of chill in the air. After living in Mumbai for nearly 2 years I had forgotten about cold weather. I had never seen fall colors in my life so I was amazed by the spectacular display of fall colors… The leaves of the trees turn red, orange, purple and yellow as if nature is playing Holi (It is an Indian festival in which people celebrate arrival of spring with colors) in fall!

The change of season is most evident on the Kelly drive. This is my the most favorite place in Philly!…its a road which runs along the Schuylkill River. I have to take train from my place to Temple University. I cross the Schuylkill River and I can see the Kelly Drive from my train only for 2-3 minutes. Every day I look forward to those moments… On one side of the drive, there are cherry trees planted along the river and the other side is the Fairmount Park… half of the cherry trees in Philadelphia were gifted by Japanese government on the occasion of 150th anniversary of American independence and half were planted by Japan- America society of greater Philadelphia. (Source: Wikipedia :)) It is amazing to see how this drive changes through out the year…As spring touches Philly, the Kelly Drive bursts with thousands of pink and white cherry flowers…it is followed by lush green leaves in summer and beautiful fall colors in fall… In winter when it snows, ground near the river is covered with snow and the water of the river looks beautiful blue…I have seen the Kelly Drive in all seasons and tried to capture it through my camera from the train…they don’t do any justice to what I see through my eyes though!

24051_10150163522895167_1309087_n IMG_0664 The Kelly Drive in all seasonsIMG_1146

I live in an apartment complex so I don’t have a backyard or a garden in front of my house. But there are individual bungalows in the neighborhood. They have variety of trees, flower plants and nice lawns in front of these houses. Some time in spring or summer these lawns become full of weed flowers. These weed flowers are yellow, white, pink or purple… in all shades and all shapes…they last only for few days because the owners don’t like the weed…but I love all these small flowers and can’t understand why they are called weeds! I stay right next to train station… so I usually leave (RUN!) my home by 9:19 if I want to catch 9:22 🙂 and in that small amount of time if I see a ‘pretty little thing’ looking at me from the grass, I take a photo with my iPhone ( yes I have to mention its an iPhone :p)…Small flowers were really happy to pose but the big flowers had some attitude…they were not happy with the small attention I gave them so every time I tried to take a photo they used to move and make my life difficult! So one fine day I got out of my home early and they gave me good pose!

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Just out of curiosity I googled these weed flowers and found out their names. It is really interesting how some of the flowers have ‘royal’ names such as Oxalis, Star of Bethleham, Gallant soldier and Oriental lady’s thumb!!! Hi hi… 🙂 When Neeraj came to Penn State for his masters he literally fell in love with that place…there are beautiful lawns all over and in spring all these lawns used to have weed flowers. He says that reminded him of Balkavi’s famous poem about (weed???) flower “phulrani” हिरवे हिरवे गार गालिचे हरित तृणाच्या मखमालीचे त्या सुंदर मखमालीवरती फुलराणी ती खेळत होती! English translation of this poem is available here..

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In India, we have a dry winter and in spring all the trees have new leaves. According to Hindu calendar it is called a Vasant month. It is a festive month and often at this time of year trees are full of hundreds of beautiful small flowers such as Gulmohar, Palas…( I often wondered why trees with hundreds of small flower bloom in the spring. May be the nature is happy to welcome the arrival of the spring. At that time of the year here in USA, the cherry trees bloom.

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Monsoon season is a separate season in India. We have four to five months of grueling hot summer and around mid-June the weather starts changing. The air becomes heavy, winds start blowing indicating the arrival of monsoon season. I love the first rain of the season. I love to go out in the rain and soak myself in the first rain. Here monsoon is not a separate season but it rains during summer. I did not enjoy rain here much. May be it has to do with the fact that it doesn’t come after hot weather. When its not raining, summer is also fun! In summer and fall we go on evening walk near Philadelphia University. It is a small local university, has a cute campus and our favorite place to go for a walk. Around June, all the neighborhood is painted in different colors of roses and water lilies. On our way back home from our evening walk we used to bring water lilies, roses for next day pooja!

Cherry Blossom at Japanese Garden, Philadelphia

When I came here, we made sure to go out in every season took pictures in all seasons but after that seasons just come and go by… more of a routine…but I wish the season of love should stay here longer! Amen!


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