Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A walk in the park

It was a glorious day in the flatlands. The weather has been so dismal recently that waking up to sun streaming through the windows is an instant happiness maker.

Thrilled with the sunshine, I decided to treat my younger dog, Nelson, to a walk in the park. The older dog is going very slow these days and when I walk them together I know it’s frustrating for Nels to just poke along.

Turns out, though, the walk was a wonderful jaunt for me as well. I live only about a mile from Forest Park – one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. Sadly – and shame on me -- I don’t often take advantage of the proximity.

The park is amazing, so I’ve decided to do a little tourism show and tell, sharing a tiny slice of my city. St. Louis gets a bad rap for being a ho hum, blue collar town and in actuality it is a relatively wealthy, cultural hub. Someday I will do a pictorial on our neighborhoods to showcase the diversity, architecture and grandeur.

The photo above is a shot of one leg of the Lagoon. It’s a charming, small lake that is bounded by the Art Museum, the Muny Opera, the Spanish Pavilion, and the History Museum. On a warm day you can find large turtles sunning themselves on the rock wall, egrets swooping in for a fish, or happy adventurers gliding by in a paddle boat.

A few years back when I was taking a quiet stroll along the edge of the Lagoon, I looked across the water to see a young woman boldly photographing a man who was stark naked, standing tall with legs spread and arms in the air while wearing a really bad black fright wig. Interesting. And you thought St. Louis was a prudish town.

This is the Spanish Pavilion, one of the last remaining structures from the 1904 World’s Fair. Just recently the fountain was restructured to the elegant, pristine design you see here. It’s perfect in it’s simplicity to complement the intricate architecture of the pavilion.

Behold the Great Basin. This waterway sits at the foot of the magnificent Art Museum. The slope that rises up to the museum is known as Art Hill and it sees a lot of sledding action in the winter. In the fall, at the base of the hill, with the basin in the background, the world renowned St. Louis Symphony plays a free concert under the stars. It’s always a crisp, magical evening that finishes with a blaze of fireworks.

I don’t think it’s hard to figure out who this is. He exhausted himself and depleted his fluid reserve by raising a leg on every shrub and stump in the park.

My photos don’t really do the park justice. The sun was so bright it has washed out much of the color and my cheapy digital camera wasn’t designed for beauty shots. You can, though, get an idea of why I’m thrilled to be so close to this wonderful place.

That concludes the slide show portion of this posting.


Kathleen said...

You have some absolutely amazing public places in the flatland. Thanks so much for sharing these photos. And Nelson is positively adorable. What's his breed? Is he a mix? A Wheaton?

lakeviewer said...

This was a very nice walk for us too. Lovely pictures.

Rudee said...

I've only been to St. Louis twice. I was there for work and I'm sad to say I didn't get to see this area. It's beautiful. Thanks for the tour.

Cynthia said...

Lovely. Thank you for the tour!

ds said...

All I ever knew about St. Louis (besides the Cardinals) was the Arch. Thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea how beautiful your city is. Very nice! Thanks for the walk, talk, and pictorial tour. :)

Blueberry said...

Forest Park is wonderful and there are some great museums in St. Louis. Reason enough to visit. I miss the Cardinals too, and good fireworks.

Bruce said...

One of the only reasons the wife and I can stand to live in Phoenix, Arizona, is that we live in an historic downtown neighborhood that borders and very old and large park that our dogs make full use of. If we were stuck in the 'burbs', there is no way would could tolerate living here.

Prairie Chicken... said...

LOL @ the last pic

we_be_toys said...

Trying to go back and catch up and what I've missed.
Gorgeous park, and I know what you mean, about your camera washing out everything. I have a Fuji and I love it, but I often have to go back into Photoshop to kick up the saturation, esp. with bright sun shots.
Loved the shot of Nelson watering the bush - what a helpful fellow!