May 12, 2015

One of my greatest pleasures in life is walking along the Silver Lake Reservoir, the artificial lake named after Water Board Commissioner Herman Silver, and which gave its name in turn to our delightful neighborhood, recently voted the
“hippest neighborhood in the country.” Typically I walk for half an hour in the mornings and enjoy peaceful time by myself or with a friend, and occasionally running into one of the non-human residents of our very diverse community. Most often, the critters I spot in the morning are squirrels foraging in the pine needles by the massive trees by the lake, or the mallards or Canada Geese who live much of the year at the edge of the lake. In spring, we are honored to share the neighborhood with a community of Great Blue Heron, who have built their nests in the branches of the eucalyptus trees that tower over the lake and the pathway that surrounds it. Sometimes in the mornings, the loud chattering of herons talking to their young inside their crowded nests drowns out all other sounds nearby. Much quieter are the coyotes who I have occasionally spotted either sleeping at the foot of the same trees unaware that they are being watched, or walking brazenly parallel to the fence that separates us from them, giving a look that seems to ask, “Hey, what are you doing in my neighborhood?”

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Recently, I have found it hard to walk in the mornings because the Department of Water and Power are digging up the street along my side of reservoir and a lot of dust is being thrown into the air. Since my bout with whooping cough, which weakened my breathing and kept me from exercising for several weeks, I haven’t been able to walk my normal route without coughing. So, I am trying to get out in the evenings when the dust has settled back down. Dozens of people were walking or running along the path enjoying the balmy evening and the relative quiet of the traffic-free street. Although the sun was already low in the sky, the jacaranda trees that line the street were glorious in their purple May effusion. The Great Blue Heron had settled down in their nests for the evening and a few solitary geese were flying by overhead. I arrived at one of the beautifully made new informational panels that has been put up by the DWP along the path and left a small pack of Theo’s old nature cards that provide some basic information about water birds, animals and insects on top of the rolling barrel that can be turned to show information about local wildlife – a gift for a small person who also enjoys the wonderful creatures with whom we share our neighborhood.

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