The weather over the past few weeks has given Schiller Park a different–and decidedly icier–look. It’s pretty, in a desolate, black-and-white photography kind of way, but difficult to enjoy without some serious risk.
The big snowfall that we experienced recently has not left us, and temperatures have for the most part stayed very cold. But, we’ve had a few days of sunshine since the big storm. The sunshine has melted some, but by no means all, of the accumulated snow, and overnight the frigid temperatures have caused the melted snow to refreeze. Repeat the process for a few days, and you’ll end up with a landscape that looks like what you see in these photos.
Most of the interior of the park is completely encased in a coating of ice that is now inches thick. When I walked by yesterday morning, on a cloudy day, the dim sunlight filtering through the overcast sky gave the ice a kind of evil, frosty gleam that screamed “winter.” Many of the pathways, like the entrance to the park at the end of Third Street, above, and the walk past the gardens to the Schiller statue, below, are fully ice-bound. Only the most foolhardy–or someone equipped with spiked footwear–would venture onto these bumpy, treacherous surfaces. I didn’t see anyone who was willing to risk a hip-busting fall.
As a result of the conditions, the park is a very peaceful, quiet place. The few pedestrians, like me, tend to stick to the cleared streets surrounding the park, figuring that walking among the parked cars and veering around the icy patches on the roads is a wiser course. Only the dog walkers venture into the interior, walking with tiny, penguin-like steps over the ice and urging their canine companions to be quick about their business so they can quickly return to less treacherous footing.