The Wilds of Lake Park

Well gang, I hope your Monday is getting off to a lovely start. Yes, it is another beautiful day in the neighborhood (at least it was when I started this). I don’t know about you all, but I can hardly get enough of these breezy and beautiful April mornings. I find myself longing to soak in the atmosphere, as if by so doing I might find a way to hold onto it. My attempts at bottling “April morning” have been futile however, so to wring out every last ounce of goodness, both morning and evening, and even from a little of the inbetween, I sometimes grab my camera to capture a bit of it.

Here in the burbs of Lake Park (as opposed to over there by the waterfront –  yes, waaaaay over there some blocks away 🙂 ),  we have our share of life in the wild which the waterfront residents may not get to participate in, at least in the same way we do here in Central LP. Just as those to the East have an upfront vista of waterfront glory that we miss out on unless we get out early and get walking, we have our own sights and sounds that sidle right up to our doors and windows, sometimes giving the feel that we live in and amongst a wild kingdom.

The scent of freshly cut grass wafts through the breeze numerous times a week as neighbors, in turn, get around to their outdoor chores. Then there are the stories the birds tell with their constant chatter, their singing and the occasional infighting, the crazed and creepy sound of raccoons on the prowl in the night, the streetwalking cats, the chorus of dogs who seem to be encouraged to bark incessantly because they are the neighborhood alarm system and of course, the lizard kingdoms ever-growing and prospering on our back porches. Top it all off with the aroma of the sea that finds its way down the street and mingles with a whole host of other wild and crazy goings-on that I’ll have to tell about another day. Oh, and there are, of course, the musical stylings of certain neighborhood characters who seem to have a penchant for singing at the top of their lungs with sheer abandon, a sound carried along by the wind which provides more than a few raised eyebrows and sideways grins here at our house. Then again, maybe this music man is a traveling minstrel who finds his way to the street where you live as well. You’ll have to let me know if so.

Anyway, I was bound to home this week by an evil sickness that descended upon me (courtesy of the blessed family Easter gathering, whereby 4 or 5 us were passed a colorful virus along with those pretty little eggs), so I took to the back patio to enjoy the breeze and ponder the sights and sounds that come with the landscape. It is sufficient to say I was pretty well down for the count and barely able to move, and I definitely wasn’t venturing far from the comfy confines of home. Thankfully, there is plenty of activity on the street and in the yard where I live to help with diversion… all kinds.

Have you ever noticed that when you are forced to be very still, even at home where you are most comfortable, all you want at that point is the freedom to get out and move and live even the most mundane of lives, doing just about anything of your own choice anywhere but where you are? Now, I can manage to be still (albeit with much difficulty,  because I come from a “keep moving” kind of family) but if and when I am stationary, I prefer it to be on my own terms. Forced stillness is unwelcome and even slightly maddening, especially if it comes as a result of the evils of sickness and incessant aches that come along with it. The body and the pain get into a battle for that incredibly limited territory of the mind, and there you are, caught in the crossfire. Diversion is welcome. Diversion is necessary.

Like a cloud

Enter a brood of feathery neighbors who floated into view like a cloud. They gently and quietly crashed my backyard party to help themselves to a meal from the bounty of worms I seem to be harvesting in my lawn. Slow and silent, these unassuming gate-crashers were not the least bit intimidated by me.

Unassuming yard crashers

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 White Ibis posing for a portrait, perhaps in need of a little beak cleaner.

So I grabbed my camera and inched closer and mustered the strength to get a better look at who these uninvited party guests (who help themselves to my yard regularly) really are.  These lovelies were all dressed up in pink and white with touches of black and slowly paraded in unison through my yard, beak to ground and back up again, repeatedly.

It wasn’t long before they were being stalked by a couple of little annoying panhandlers who wanted to get in on the action. The little beady-eyed guys flitted quickly about, swooping in and out, and they took to the ground and the quickly growing grass and got into the mix. They ran on agile little legs through the sea of long and bony ones, angry eyes glaring, doing little to secure their own meal, but apparently hoping to snatch a bit for themselves from the work of those willing to stick their necks out and put their beaks into the dirt and dig.

Making a run for it.

The little guys didn’t seem to fare too well in securing any food for their stomachs. They would have accomplished way more for all the energy they expended had they just done a little digging of their own. The worms seemed to be sticking their heads out of the ground just begging to be taken, but apparently that was too much work for them. Such is life on so many levels.

If you are like me, many of the characters that make up your neighborhood are probably overlooked, and maybe all but ignored as you hurry about your many chores. However, if you sit still, look closely and listen, you might see them in a new light, with a different perspective and a little more interest. There are tales to be told by the wildlife of Lake Park. Hopefully you won’t have to be held hostage by an unkind virus to enjoy the story.

Here’s a bit more of what I snapped from across the yard. Not exactly National Geographic, but just kind of fun to see up close and frozen in the moment. Enlarge any of the images on the page to full size by clicking on them..

Hoping to hone in on the action, but the big guy was not in the mood to share.

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Angry bird

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Talk about knobby knees and a claw foot!

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And they’re off…

There is a commission meeting this week. Here is the agenda:

There will also be a presentation about the Relay for Life.
Have a great week!
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