Monday, Monday

Birds of Lake Merritt

I took a little walk this morning. Rather than take a full lap around the lake I decided to spend a little quality time with just the shoreline between Perkins and El Embarcadero. I picked up a latté at Coffee With a Beat. Someone had thrown a brick through one of their windows late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It also broke their neon sign. Jamila said they hoped their insurance would cover the cost of replacing the sign, but they don’t know for sure. Very sad.

Coffee in hand, I strolled down to the edge of the lake and chose a peace bench looking over the bird sanctuary. (All the benches have been painted and have hand lettered messages of peace.) The bench I chose quoted Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” There was an older gent feeding pigeons and seagulls. Several joggers and walkers passed by, taking advantage of the cool-yet-not-too-rainy morning.

Strolling northeast, I reached the well grooved labyrinth. The walkway is deeply cut into the lawn, so it was too muddy to use this morning. If the Park and Recreation department would fill the paths with river pebbles it would still be very walkable, even while wet. I’ll write and suggest it to them.

Surrounding the labyrinth are several California liveoaks. The bark on these particular specimens is deeply grooved, echoing the deeply cut pathways of labyrinth they shade. I can’t tell if this is a healthy condition of the bark or if they have some sort of disease, but the bark is very interesting, and the leaves of the tree showed no particular signs of poor health. On the other side of the walking path, right next to the lake are a series of small, shrubby trees. These trees also feature a deeply grooved bark. I don’t know what kind of plant this is, but they appear to have been planted here a long time ago.

Reaching the colonnade and embarcadero at the east end of the lake, I was struck by the significant expanse of newly planted turf grass. I realize that the monocultural expanse is aesthetically smooth, and offers a clean canvas of negative space in the landscape design. But it’s sad that the city chose not to plant hearty, native, drought resistant plants in this area. It might have been beautiful, required less maintenance (no mowing, weeding, chemical applications, etc.) and offered local wildlife and birds a welcoming habitat.

Java with a BeatBark of the Lake Merritt Live OaksMini Daisysdeep barkThis Labyrinth is deeply rutted

Monday January 25, 2010 — Mark —