Before Christmas, the temperature dropped sharply from close to 60 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, in our area, although there was strong wind, the wind did not bring in snow. I bundled myself up and headed for Brightwood Park in the mornings. When I left home at sunrise, I was surprised to see a blue jay. The geese seemed to enjoy being in a tub decorated by gold mosaic tile brought by the morning sun.
Thick ice formed underneath the bridge of the dam, while the water was still running through.
Near the Fanwood Avenue entrance, a few ice spikes appeared on a wood log, as if the wood was developing a running nose. Not sure if I could ask it to take a Covid test.
Always New Discoveries in Brightwood Park
After being in Boston for a week, when I took a walk at Brightwood Park yesterday I found the foliage almost over. Two turtles were still enjoying the sunlight around noon time. Judging by the difference in the look of their shells, I guessed there was a parent (or grandparent) accompanied by a youngster.
A few maple leaves were still hanging on a tree, Four were dancing in the wind as a group. Another one dressed in a darker color was doing a solo. The audience happened to be a few remaining leaves on an oak tree.
On the trail leading to Fanwood Avenue entrance, two years ago I found on a slope a tiny patch of orange-colored lichens-like plant. I was happy to see the plant still being there . The fallen leaves surrounding formed a frame for the beautiful little creature.
On the back trail, berries of red and purple colors could still be found. I was wondering if the birds decided to spare them for my entertainment.
A hole on an oak tree near the dam and bridge caught my attention. After peeking inside I was amazed by the decorative fungi on the wall and a clean and neat wooden floor, looking like a place ready for rent. Not sure who had been living there but sure enough, the residents kept the place very well.
Brightwood... Prettier every day.
Here is what I saw at Brightwood Park the other afternoon and evening.
Daily Reflections on Nature
Today I came to the park in both early morning and the afternoon. The ducks were more active than usual and kept dancing. A few geese were watching and feeling itchy. So was I.
A chipmunk had its mouth and pouches full, looking exactly like the characters in Disney cartoon movies I watched in childhood.
An artist came and sat at the shore working on her water painting. She did not realize that her presence made the park another nice piece of artwork.
The last photo in this set was actually an image of a small piece of rock in the parking lot. I found it intriguing and resembling the air view of rocky mountains that I gazed at on my previous flights to the West Coast.
The pollinator garden by the parking lot is doing very well. Even when nibbled on by the deer, the plants are like an assembly line and put out new flowers everyday. Today I think I found another secret to explain why the garden remains so pretty: a squadron of bumble bees are stationed here to guard the flowers.
The reflections of the woods and the change of the leaf colors are like an artist's oil paintings. As a believer of creation, not only I know who the artist is but also where to find Him. Brightwood Park is not only my favorite place to meet Him but also provides a preview of a better place in eternity.
After the drought this past summer, the number of birds in the park significantly declined. A small herd of mallard ducks became the main residents here. I was excited to spot a guest this morning; a blue heron.
On my way out, I was paused by the noise of pecking in the crown of a tall tree. I tried hard to locate the source. By tracking the motions I found a male downy woodpecker. In a moment, the bird came down from his workplace and stood almost in front of me. While I appreciated the bird's courtesy of greeting me, I noticed that this little fellow must be tired after getting up early and working hard, because he dozed a few times.
Although it was a rainy day, the absence of blue sky did not compromise the beauty of the autumn in Brightwood Park. Everything appeared refreshed. Tree leaves floating in the pond formed artistic patterns or as worn in fashion shows.
A bush and its reflection in the pond looked like a human ear. I was reminded of a pair of statues located at the entrance of the Molecular Biology Institute of UCLA, the building where I did my graduate work. Before the name "Anthropomorphic Echoes" (http://www.publicartinla.com/UCLAArt/benoff.html) was released, everyone called them "strange ears". After the "ears" were first dedicated, in a few days they melted down under the warm weather of Southern California. It then took a while for the artist to figure out a material which allowed the statues to stay intact and straight. Now after 40 years the statues are still there.
I was wondering if I could name the bush here "Brightwood Echoes".
If you were unable to come to the park because of the weather or because of the distance, I hope the photos shared here brought nature to you wherever you are.
Have a wonderful week. Chuan-Chu
I would like to share with you two additional sets of photos. One set was from October 8 and has the full moon with Jupiter in its vicinity. One of the photos is a close-up of Jupiter. Another photos has both the moon and Jupiter.
Some neighbors and friends asked me what happened to my summer because I had not shared photographs of Brightwood. Although I did take a couple vacations, I still carried out my park ranger duty when I was home. I was just too busy to get organized. Here are a few sets of pictures taken in August.
A Wet, Chilly, and Windy Day in the Park
I took a walk in Brightwood Park yesterday afternoon between 5 and 6. Despite it being wet, chilly, and windy, I saw a few interesting objects and would like to share the pictures I took with you.
The pollinating garden at the parking lot resumed its beauty of the early summer. Thanks to Denise and all who participating in planting and taking care of the plants and flowers.
In these days the distal end of the small pond appear to be a hot area for the ducks to hold parties. A young male wood duck was taking his time to change his outfit. His eyes are now red in color (typical for adult males), and multiple colors are gradually appearing on his body, most obvious in the feathers of his head. I was wondering how often this cute creature had to visit tattoo shops or hair salons to work on his look. Instead of being timid (like many other wood ducks), this guy and his female friends were at ease seeing me watching them. At a point they decided to do a little stage performance so that I could take funny shots.
The mallard ducks were less fun. They probably were finishing the day with full tummies of duckweed and other food from the pond. A colorful male kept dozing, and I had to whistle to him to get one photo with his eye open.
A deer passed by the woods near the dam. In contrast to the ducks, the deer looked starving, Its chest was like a music sheet with empty staff. I waved at her and said, "Good luck!"
Upon continuing my walk toward Prospect Street, I saw a fallen dead tree blocking the trail. There are other trees that look like they may also come down.
Take care and have a nice week.
Morning Has Broken
I would like to share with you another episode of "Morning Has Broken". Between 7:30 and 8:00 this morning, a layer of fog rose from the ground of Brightwood Park. The sunlight came through trees and created scenes reminding me of the description of the Garden of Eden. I took the first few pictures with my Canon camera and later switched to my iPhone 13 to get the contrast right.
The flowers planted by Rob waved at me. Not till I almost finished my journey did I become aware that among the flowers there was a king, accompanied by a golden crown (the purple coneflower).
It was a delight to see the waterfall forming at the dam again, after having a long dry summer. I felt so refreshed by this familiar sight and sound.
A sweetgum tree at the junction of the large and the small ponds was announcing the coming of foliage season. With many tree leaves falling prematurely due to the drought, one has to keep fingers crossed for a pretty and colorful autumn.
Echo of Nature... Shout out Brightwood!
I woke up yesterday morning around 6:30 a.m. As much as I wanted to make up for some sleep that I lost, I was driven by an impulse to get up.
I wonder if you remember a story appearing in TV news back in the early 1980s. A United flight on its way from Honolulu to Los Angeles made an emergency landing because a passenger was trying to open the cabin door. After the landing he explained to security officers why he did it: "I heard the echo of nature telling me that I am a bird, and I am not supposed to be trapped in this cage." The news became a hot subject in the laboratory where I worked as a graduate student.
Well, as much as I laughed at the news back then, some forty years later, I found myself wacky by responding to the "echo of nature". No worries! I am crazy but will not make a drama anywhere else except home and Brightwood Park. 😊
The park apparently retained a lot of precipitation overnight. Evaporation from the ground created a light fog, allowing the rising sun to spray light beams into the woods. Seeing this in multiple areas, I could not help but shout out: "Brightwood!"
A gentle breeze came by and the water drops hiding in the trees started to dance and jump. It felt strange when the sky was blue with no clouds at all, and the sun was shining, a rain shower took place in the woods, A poor spider was totally unprepared. So was I. While the spider web was swinging, I started dancing in sync and singing "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head".
As I was about to leave, a smiling face on a tree waved at me. Despite the activities in the woods, the pond was as tranquil as a mirror. Without including the shore, a picture of the pond would be hard for one to tell which side is up.
The chairs by the shore reminded me of friends including Jack and Joan Miller who often sit there to watch ducks and geese. I long to see them there soon, and you, too!
I am a frequent visitor of Brightwood Park and enjoy sharing my discoveries.
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.