Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Friends Around the Park

Despite it being a weekend, I woke up just before 6am this morning, and decided to leave the comfy bed to finish up Wify's application for passport renewal. She woke up slightly later and was confused for a moment whether she needed to come downstairs to prepare my breakfast, not realizing at first that it was a weekend. In both instances, it's a sign that age is catching up: getting or needing less sleep, and mind playing trick more often.

Anyway, we dropped by the Post office to mail the application package before 9am. Early birds, no queue. And overheard the lady at the counter remarking to a senior customer that we now need to work past 80, and extend the lifespan beyond that too, an allusion to the anticipated hard times now and ahead as portended by the collapse of Washington Mutual (WaMu), hot in the heels of the meltdown of investment giants Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, all notable victims of the subprime crisis.

While there, Wify spotted a display of the Flags of Our Nation series of stamp, and bought one coil of 50 comprising the first series of ten designs. According to the USPS website, there will be 6 series in all, two series to be issued per year until 2010. So if you are a stamp collecting enthusiast, or philatelist, keep a lookout.
The ten designs in the first series of Flags of Our Nation stamps.

Our mission accomplished, we headed for Lettuce Lake Park to retrace our foot steps on the boardwalk made three weeks ago. The scene that greeted us was a welcome change, not only from the choke-full condition seen last time around, but also because we bumped into some new friends, as evidenced from the pictorial account that follows.

We parked next to a coach, and was greeted by a man in a kind of outdoor gear coming down the coach whether we were there to take part in the nature walk organized by Autubon Society. That was a first for us, but we respectfully declined since we have our spots where we would like to go, though I could sense that Wify seemed enthusiastic in taking up the offer, driven by the prospect of learning from an expert guide. Maybe next time.

I first bumped into this cute furly creature while it was standing, sentry-style, in the center of the pavement, viewing guardedly our approach. From a distance, I thought somebody left a brown bottle on the middle of the walkway, until it moved, when we got near. Yup, the mind is playing trick again!

Perfect reflection captured on film.

This relatively open water area is in full contrast to the meadow-like scene three weeks ago. The vagary of Nature.

We first saw this rarely seen birdie from the boardwalk on our way in one direction. Wify remarked that it's practicing mindfulness, staying motionless in this stance. On our return going in the opposite direction, our friend was still at it. But then we learned that it's a night heron, as informed by a learned fellow visitor, sweaty and all, the same guy who was running up and down the climb to the observation tower as a workout. Befitting their name, "these birds stand still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night". Perhaps this one was going for a change of habit, or perhaps that was its resting pose.

This was affixed to the back of the coach we saw earlier. The blue bird at the top left is a Blue Jay, one that wify has painted.

Oh yes, Happy 10th birthday, Google, here amusing themselves with a special logo that spots a server rack.

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