1. I spent some time in Lincoln Park (the actual park, not the general neighborhood) over Labor Day weekend, and man, what a lovely part of the city!
I’ve lived here for over six years, and this past weekend was only the second time ever–ever!–that I visited the South Pond. It was the first time I’ve been there during the summer, and my goodness, it was so nice. I suppose I was aware of the fact that the South Pond exists, but having never really been, it wasn’t at all aware of how beautiful it is, especially with all the wildflowers in bloom.
I saw a bunch of turtles and fish in the pond, but the biggest (literally) and most exciting surprise was when I was standing on one of the parts of the boardwalk that goes out over the water and a BEAVER swam out from under the boardwalk!
I had never seen a beaver in real life before, and I can’t say I ever expected to see one in Lincoln Park of all places!
I did not see any Black Crowned Night Herons: a situation I found very surprising in light of the fact that I’ve now encountered three Black Crowned Night Herons along the Riverwalk this summer. One of the educational signs along the boardwalk said that the boardwalk and island in the middle of the pond had been designed specifically with Black Crowned Night Herons and their migration patterns in mind. It also said they were endangered in Illinois. I wonder if that’s still true? I’ve seen three in the past month, plus I saw a juvenile a few years back (in Lincoln Park, incidentally, not all that far from the South Pond). I’ve seen a lot more Black Crowned Night Herons than, say, bluebirds (of which I’ve seen exactly zero in the city, ever), which makes it hard to believe they’re endangered, but I suppose Lincoln Park and the Chicago River are a pretty small slice of Illinois overall, so maybe my perception is warped.
2. I also went to the Lincoln Park Zoo to visit the birds who live there. Though I regularly attend ZooLights, I only remember two other occasions where I’ve visited the zoo for the purpose of seeing animals, so this was also a rare occurrence for me.
I enjoyed seeing all the birds (related: the sky is blue. Grass is green. *insert other obvious statement here* haha), but the Sunbittern really took the cake.
It ran across the walkway, flew up to the railing, and then put on an excellent demonstration of its frontal display. It stood on the railing like that for close to a minute, then flew up to a perch more tucked away from the people and continued frontal displaying. It was quite the sight!
All of this time in Lincoln Park, just like the time I spent in Millennium Park a few weekends ago, really made me think about how rarely I take advantage of what Chicago has to offer. I never go to Lincoln Park, or Millennium Park. I barely ever go to any of the museums in the city. I think part of that is just the nature of living somewhere vs. visiting somewhere: it’s much easier to hit up a city’s attractions when you’re visiting and your only obligation is to hit up a city’s attractions. Like I mentioned last week, I don’t exactly have a surplus of free time to spend hours at a park or museum. My birthday is in a couple of weeks, which means I’ll have the day off (my company allows you to take your birthday off without using your PTO – it’s its own separate category of time off). A fair number of museums are free for Illinois residents that day, so I think I might spend my time off exploring them.
3. Some idiot left the door to my fridge’s freezer open all day on Tuesday (that idiot being me, though I’m tempted to blame it on the house fly that had been buzzing around my kitchen all weekend). Sigh. I’m not actually sure how it happened. I know I closed the freezer door after getting my ice pack for my lunch Tuesday morning, but I must’ve closed it with too much enthusiasm or something, causing it to bounce back open…? I don’t know. All I know is that it was definitely open that evening, and that all of the food in it was definitely no longer frozen. The most devastating loss, by far, was the ice cream. It wasn’t even close to being empty! Alas. They say experience is the best teacher, and let me tell you, I have now been thoroughly educated on the importance of making sure the freezer is in fact closed before I leave the house.