By the shore of Lake Washington, there is a place called The Center for Urban Horticulture. The day I went, the actual buildings were closed, but I was still able to wander around the trails that stretched out from where the buildings stood.
I love plants and nature and being outside. In the harsh chill of winter, it can be a little more difficult to find spaces of nature to explore. There is something about the trails by The Center for Urban Horticulture....The natural beauty was magnified in the starkness of winter. The chill clarified the beauty, the lack of leaves and greenery created a world which was both stoic and elegant.
One of the walks is a trail of planked walkways over a marshy area. It was fun and surreal walking over the elevated walkways. On the day I went, the marsh was little more than mud and a few puddles of water, but this just added to the strangeness making the experience feel surreal.
There were two different encounters with birds during the walk at The Center for Urban Horticulture.
First, a cackling duck somewhere in the distance of the reeds and water. Mostly, the soundscape was muffled sounds of nature and the distant freeway roar, until suddenly from somewhere among the brush, a maniacal laughter erupted. But it wasn't laughter at all...it was the quack of a crazed sounding duck. Sometimes, if you pay too much attention to something, it starts to become hilarious, as this duck cackling quack quickly became.
Second, a bald eagle spotting! It was sitting in a tree with it's wings spread out, it's ivory head rotating occasionally to survey his kingdom. He looked mighty and noble in that tree. he looked gigantic with his wings spread out. I spent quite a while admiring this majestic bird. At one point, the bird put his wings together and knelt forward. The way he was postured, it looked like he was about to take off for flight. I declared with excitement "He's going to fly!" But nope, he wasn't getting reading to fly, this serene and dignified creature instead pooed, and oh boy, it was the biggest bird poo I have ever seen. This of course brought out my juvenile side, and was even more hilarious than the cackling duck. Birds sure can be funny.
I also encountered some non-hilarious birds such as crows, a red wing black bird, so itty-bitty chirpy birds and cormorants. Winter birds are the best. They are little beacons of life and vitality in the stark and empty spots of winter.
While walking, I encountered two benches which were dedicated to memorialize humans who have passed away: Walt (Buddy) Williams and Jesse Dawes Green. Both men had brief and simple descriptions of who they were on their memorial bench, and although simple, the descriptions made them sound like beautiful people. Buddy was a scholar, unrepentant liberal, and happy birder. Jesse was a poet, scholar and brave spirit.
One thing about winter is it makes the sky look bigger. There are no tree leaves edging out the sky, covering it with cloaks of green leaves. A lot of Seattle is still filled with greenery because of all the evergreen plant life. It is something I like about Seattle. But sometimes it is nice to be confronted with the lack of greenery that winter brings.