Posted to Norm’s Thursday Doors Challenge
Enjoying a Oakland Municipal Band concert in Lakeside Park on a warm August afternoon.
You can see a little bit of Lake Merritt to the left of the band stand in the photo below. And very faintly, if you look for it, you can see the “Green Monster” climbing structure, also to the left of the bandstand by the lake,
People and Musicians
Kids climbing on the repaired and newly rededicated 50 year old “Green Monster” climbing structure.
And, of course, the GEESE.
Posted for Patti’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #57: Taking a Break
Most of you know that I am a City Girl. Having moved back to Oakland, in Northern California, three years ago, I am in seventh heaven. I love the weather, the diversity, the opportunities to attend events…….. I could go on and on.
But one thing that is guaranteed in cities, at least here in the states, is graffiti. It doesn’t bother me particularly. It’s part and parcel of urban living. But it’s not exactly beautiful. And large expanses of empty walls are basically an open invitation to “tagging,” which is the process of spray painting the graffiti.
Oakland, along with some other cities, have found what seems to be an ideal solution. Businesses hire local mural artists to display their art on the large walls. It’s a win-win situation: the artists are local, and often, but not always, people of color. The artists earn money, something always in short supply for working artists, and because they are local, the gangs, in general, don’t tag over the murals. And the works are signed by the artists and copyrighted.
I drove over to the Grand/Lakeshore Avenues area of my neighborhood yesterday afternoon (Friday) to beat the weekend rush for dog food and groceries. As I was walking out of the parking lot, I noticed that there was a brand new mural covering the faded old one. Brand new as in, “Oh my goodness, is the paint still wet???” And as I walked along it, I marveled at how well the artist had captured the Lake Merritt neighborhood. He had painted the finger of the lake that is south of me, and which is actually the larger of the two fingers and has the iconic promenade. But more than just painting the lake and the promenade structure, he had painted the birds, the various water fowl that are here in the lake. As I walked, (and I was walking from the end of it to the beginning, toward the street) I was softly exclaiming, “Oh, there’s a seagull and a cormorant. And there are the Canada geese.” And then I saw a pelican and noticed that the pelican had a sign tied on his neck with a red ribbon. The sign said, “HONK.”* It was then that I realized that the artist had painted all the species of water fowl that we have year round at the lake. So I was not surprised to then come upon the mallard ducks, and then finally the egrets. It was obvious to me that the artist was truly local, and knew the lake well. I felt that the mural had been painted with such love of the neighborhood that I caught my breath. After I got home, I looked at the photos and noticed that the mural was truly new. It was dated 8/2019.
I will present the photos in the order they are supposed to be viewed as you walk from the street into the parking lot and the stores.
Egrets and the Necklace of Lights
The ducks and a pelican. Notice the reflections in the lake and the ripples in the water around one of the ducks.
A closeup of the pelican. Notice his neck sign.*
The Canada geese. See yesterday’s post Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals for photos of the geese.
And at the end of the procession, a cormorant and a seagull. Notice the OWRC** inscribed on the prow of the boat.
And finally, the artist’s signature and © on the log. Notice the raccoon sitting on top of the log. You have to work to notice his mask and look even harder to see the rings on his tail extending along the log. Yes, we definitely have urban raccoons. They can be quite bold.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour!
*The sign made me think of the wonderful children’s book, The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, in which the Louis, the swan, has no voice and so wears a bag with a small chalkboard and chalk so that he can communicate. I have no idea if the artist was purposely referencing the book or not.
** The OWRC stands for the Oakland Women’s Rowing Club, which was founded in 1916. It is the oldest continuous women’s rowing club in the U.S. The women are also known as The Ladies of the Lake.
I live in a city so my Lakeshore photos are going to be a bit different than most. We are incredibly lucky here in Oakland, California to have Lake Merritt available to all residents and visitors. Lake Merritt is in fact a natural salt water lagoon, although with the construction of a dam in 1865 between the estuary of the San Francisco Bay and the tidal lagoon, water levels of the lake were able to be more controlled. That means that the salinity of the lake could be reduced, opening the lake not only to wetland birds but also to fresh water fowl such as ducks. Over the last 100+ years, the land around the lake has been build up with apartments and high rise offices buildings. None-the-less, Lake Merritt offers respite, wild life, and sanctuary for all who come. It is known as The Jewel of Oakland.
Here is a daytime view of the lake taken from the north shore looking south east toward some of the wetlands.
This photo was taken from the north-east end of the lake, looking toward the western shore.
And finally, looking toward the south western shore at twilight.
I was going to take a photo of the perforated drum in any case, because I found the texture fascinating. But then I noticed that the window above was reflecting the beauty of my favorite shop where I love to look at the plants, just relax and reflect on the beauty. It is a good place for general reflection as well. The word ‘Yoga’ and the yellow concentric circles are actually painted on the window.
Taken at the wonderful Brother and Sisters Flower Shop here in Oakland.
Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt: Reflection