One day in the spring when the grass was still lush and green, I walked with a friend at Laguna Lake Park. It was my first walk in some time because of a problem with my back, so we opted for a short walk along the lake.
We parked close to the spot where people often come to feed the birds, and sure enough, there were birds, birds, birds! Geese, gulls, ducks, coots, and others were gathered there together, some squawking loudly, some just standing in the sun, and some running hither and thither looking for seeds or insects to eat.
As we got out of the car, a small gull stood nearby watching us, waiting for a hand-out. He wasn't afraid of us at all, just hopeful. But having nothing to offer, we had to hard-heartedly go on our way, leaving him to ponder our selfishness.
The lake looked like a blue gem sparkling in the sun. There was a fresh breeze coming from the direction of the ocean, and I was glad I had brought my jacket and scarf, which had almost seemed unnecessary when we started out.
As we walked at the lake's edge, we could hear all sorts of bird sounds--songs, twitters and chirps, coming from the trees we passed, and yet we couldn't see one bird. I am amazed at how hundreds of birds can hide themselves so completely in the leaves, and then, if disturbed by something, all rise like a cloud out of one small tree.
We turned away from the shore and walked between two rows of eucalyptus trees along the edge of an open field. It was uneven underfoot, but pretty and shady. Then we turned onto a path going back in the direction from which we had come. It took us past the refurbished restrooms and the off-the-leash playing area for dogs. We wondered how the owners can be sure the dogs will get along and play with each other instead of growling and snarling and getting into fights. I don't know the answer, but dogs of all sizes, shapes, and colors were all playing happily together with no signs of tension.
How lucky we are in San Luis Obispo to have this large and beautiful park! It's set apart so completely from the hustle and bustle of the city; you feel as if you are out in the country even though across the lake you can see houses, docks, and boats. The sounds of civilization, even the traffic along Madonna Road, are muted and far away.
In every direction you see hills, either close by or far away. And in addition to the rather tame assortment of birds that wait for food, sometimes wild birds also come looking for morsels along the edge of the lake--Egrets or Great Blue Herons.
The herons don't appear to be blue when standing still in the reeds looking for prey. Not until they fly can you see their true color. I don't know of anything more beautiful than the sight of a Great Blue Heron opening his enormous wings and taking flight. The first one I ever saw, I saw at Laguna Lake.
No matter how contentious and crazy the world may seem to be, there are still lovely things in it to enjoy. And to think that some of them are here, right at our own doorstep!