Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Morning Walk at Lettuce Park

Answering the invitation of a fellow Buddhist friend, Julie, we went for a walk last Sunday in the Lettuce Park, just off Fletcher not far from our home. This is our second visit (read here for the first), not counting the time we drove through once to get a feel of the place. We can always count on these strategically located parks among the neighborhoods for a sort of communion with nature.

Due to the rainy spell in the past few days, the water level was visibly higher, inundating a greater portion of the low land on both sides of the boardwalk. This time we covered another loop of the boardwalk that passes by a wooden tower, three levels high.

The view from the top of the tower is, well, exhilarating: the scenic lake view is filled with floating leaves, lined by greenery broken by the brown of tree trunks piercing skyward. Occasionally we could see specks of white dotting the distant green, which must be the avian visitors. Or dwellers, we can’t tell. Unfortunately, the battery of my camera decided to quit on me at this juncture. So no photo to let you be the judge.

Trailing behind the group with the top of the tower visible through the canopy, slightly right of center.

The ladies gathering for a group photo at the ground level of the tower.

This is taken at the ground level just before my camera failed me.

We passed by a gentleman holding a camera with an extra long zoom lens, the tell-tale sign of a bird enthusiast in this setting. He rattled off several names of the bird species that he had come across, which just flew by us, except for Osprey. I know of it actually from the name of a wave energy extraction device built off the coast of Scotland.

What else did we see? Oh yes, a black caterpillar, calmly inching along at the side of the boardwalk. A brown hare perched on top of some fallen tree branches. We (me and the hare) engaged in some staring contest for a while (it was about ten feet away from the boardwalk), then it decided to turn its attention on some kind of prey, which I gathered from its cat-like stalking gait, eyes affixed at the leafy cover in front. At first I thought it could have been marooned, seeing that the rise in the water level seemed to have cut off the fallen branches into discrete pockets of above-water “terrain”. But I guess my worry was superfluous since this is obviously its habitat.

I spotted a pink cocoon attached to a thin tree stem. It could be an ant nest, or it could be one from which some insect could emerge, that being part of its metamorphosis, if my high school biology serves me right.

Then we heard some engine noise, and sure enough, a motorboat with two people onboard appeared into our view, slicing across the lake, leaving some wakes behind. Not sure what they were doing, could be part of the patrolling routine.

Soon (actually more than an hour later) we were back to the car, everybody having had a good sweat, even though the walking was nothing close to a brisk pace. We all adjourned to Julie’s house for a treat of juicy fruits and a feast of simple but tasty vegetarian cooking.

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