and then she found nature…….
So I went for a walk early this morning to Humboldt Park. The air was cool and crisp and the gulls were flying around making a ruckus and I needed the sounds and sights of nature to calm me down. I hate to admit it but I have lived in this neighborhood for a year now and I have never been inside the park itself, shameful! I first came to a little wetland pond and watched the birds pecking around in the mud for worms and watched the skeeter bugs walking on the water. I was standing on a little bridge lost in thought when I saw two young raccoons playing in the water on the other side of the pond. I was amazed that they were out in the open and completely unconcerned about my presence. They play fought with each other and swam in the water and one of them flushed out a rabbit and chased it, he reminded me of a dog he looked so happy! Then they disappeared under the bridge and I moved on. I crossed Division and went through the rose garden which has a formal flower garden in the middle and climbing roses on trellis’ on the sides. On the other side of that I saw one of the long arms of the big lagoon (edit to add: it’s the prairie river) and walked along it for a while under oaks, weeping willows, maples, and all sorts of huge old trees until I came to another bridge. I stopped on that bridge and admired the sunrise, it was all rosy peach on the little puff clouds and it was perfectly reflected in the still waters of the lagoon. All of a sudden something big in the water splashed up and I could see it’s wake as it swam. It looked too big to be a fish, or a turtle and it stayed under too long to be a duck. I never surfaced enough for me to figure out what it was but I thought it might be an otter. I don’t know if they have otters in Humboldt Park but I aim to find out. I kept walking around towards the Field house admiring the reclaimed prairie that has been planted around the water’s edge and was thoroughly scolded by a red wing blackbird! I saw what I thought was a wind sculpture at first but then realized that it was actually a wind turbine with solar panels below and it probably generates electricity for the park. (edit to add: I found out that the alt energy is used to cycle the water in the prairie river, instead of constantly using city water) It was very pretty and actually added to the beauty of the park so I was glad to see it there for it’s form and function. I then went under the Humboldt Blvd bridge to the main part of the lagoon and walked along the waters edge enjoying the water lilies, rushes, cattails and arrowhead plants. I found three young ducks that headed straight for me and waited expectantly presumably for food of which I had none but they were so calm and tame they came almost right up to me! Then figuring they weren’t getting breakfast from me they started sticking their heads down in the water and their little duck butts in the air one after another, eating weeds from the bottom. It was so cute! Then they got bored of me and left. So I headed to the boathouse in search of a restroom, and finding none open, went and looked off the balcony down at the lagoon and the still very beautiful sunrise and some species of flycatchers or swallows skimming the water in search of bugs. I’m not sure exactly what kind they were but next time I take a walk down there I am bringing my bird guide! I then headed to Dunkin Donuts, where I bought an egg sandwich for breakfast and started for home. On the way home I saw an eastern gray squirrel with a surprisingly red tail and as I turned onto my street I saw two American Goldfinches flying over my head chasing each other. The next time I go, I am bringing my camera!! I think early morning is the best time to go, it’s cool, quiet, and the animals are all still around 🙂 (edited to add: I found an audio tour of Humboldt Park that talks about the history and nature, woot! I smell a Grove activity) 🙂