Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring in Stewart Park

4/27/15 at 12:45pm
at Stewart Park

Temperature: 46 degrees
Wind: 5 to 17 MPH
Clouds: Mostly cloudy, with moments of sun

Animalia:
  • Canada geese
  • Mergansers
  • Robins
  • Gulls
  • Starlings

Humanity:
  • Lots of people parked in their cars looking at the lake
  • The smell of pot wafting through the air
  • Someone's leopard print underwear
  • Two fat guys fishing in the swan pen
  • A few runners
  • Construction work at the east pavilion

A week of firsts. Yesterday I posted about Rob and my plan to hike the local gorges. Today, it's running. I'm not a runner. I don't like running. I never have. But he got inspired to get off the couch, and back into an exercise plan, and I decided I should go with the program too. So I went for a run down at my Promontory.

With a half-hour program to complete, I needed more distance to cover. I headed into Renwick Woods, the Bird Sanctuary, and alternately ran then walked, the leafy paths. It was phenomenal. No wind, tall trees, soft ground beneath my feet. I almost wished I had used this forest for my semester of the Nature Writing course. And spring. Spring has finally come.

After the trek through the woods, I slipped away from the trees and back across Stewart Park, where I encountered more spring. A tall stone monument I've never seen before loomed. It was surrounded by daffodils- my favorite spring flower.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."
-Walt Whitman

I had to memorize that poem in high school. It goes on for three more stanzas, and I love it. You can read the rest at the Poetry Foundation.

I made my way onto the bike path and jogged and walked back to the Promontory, where I slowed down for the final minutes of the workout. I walked the loop I had walked all those long winter months, and noticed real signs of spring. Honeysuckle, willow, and forsythia all put out their buds. Starlings and robins flew through the trees, then onto the grass patches where worms were thawing in the sun. It was a different world from what I've seen here. 

Then I came across this fellow, right near my west side beach where I've spent so much time. The Canada goose stood still next to the water, observing me, barely turning his head, but keeping close watch on my movements. I walked past, smiling at the life that was blooming on my Promontory. I circled back around and walked the loop again, cooling down and looking for any other sparks of life. And I found it.
She had completely escaped my notice just minutes before. Next to Mr. Canada goose, was Mrs. Canada goose. Nesting, sitting on her eggs, statuesque. (If you look very closely, you can see a brown blur to the right of the goose in the above photo). Here it was, finally, my payoff for all these months of visiting the Promontory in the desperate cold, wind, ice, blowing snow.  Here was a reminder that everything changes. Here was life, pushing through again, creating more life. 

According to All About Birds, Canada geese incubate their eggs for 25-28 days. It's been two weeks since my last visit here, so these eggs could hatch as soon as two weeks from now. I doubt I can time it right to catch the moment, but it sure would be amazing. I left her to warm her eggs on this cool, windy day, and promised to come back next week to check on her. I hope she'll stay safe, so close to humanity. 

It was an amazing visit, despite the running. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I'll keep coming to the Promontory. It seems I can't keep away.


2 comments:

Laura Roberts said...

Your list of humanity made me cackle. Glad to see you're still going to the park.

Melanie Fox said...

I'm glad for the place you did choose :-)