That Growing Scent

This morning I took an early morning lap around Schiller Park — because I’ve been on the road, the first such lap in a while — and as I circumnavigated the park I couldn’t help but notice a distinct fragrance in the air.  

You might call it that growing scent.  It’s something you smell every spring — a heady mixture of mulch, fertilizer, damp soil, growing grass, buds, newly sprung leaves, and everything else that seems to be popping as the weather warms and the rain falls.  It’s spicy and earthy and a bit intoxicating, and very much welcome.

We didn’t have a bad winter this winter, but it’s always glorious when you detect that growing scent and know that spring has come.

Bussing The ‘Hood

I really hate litter — and I also really like our neighborhood.  So when I’m out for my morning walk I pick up the random bits of trash that often litter the ground and pitch them into the trash cans found around the perimeter of Schiller Park.  It’s a beautiful park that is a cornerstone of our community, and it really bugs me when litter makes it look shabby.

There’s no end to the trash that thoughtless, ignorant jerks will leave behind to mar the landscape and become somebody else’s problem — discarded Starbucks cups and lids are a perennial find, but candy wrappers, newspapers, and Red Bull cans are commonplace, too,  and once I found and tossed a beggar’s cardboard “please help me” sign positioned right next to his tossed Old English 16-ounce can.  

The world would be a prettier, better place if everyone picked up a few pieces of unsightly debris — and if the stupid litterbugs ended their nasty habit in the first place and started caring about the appearance of their cities instead.  And don’t get me started about smokers and their casually tossed cigarette butts!

Needless Work

The Schiller Park rec center parking lot used to have a wide open,  fan-shaped entrance.  It had a welcoming, graceful feel to it, well befitting the rambling, shady feel of the old park itself and the elegant brick houses that surround it.

But a few weeks ago a work crew showed up and ripped it out.  In its place they poured this concrete monstrosity, which blocks the entrance and sticks out like a sore thumb.  They put up a traffic sign and painted direction arrows, too, just in case drivers might not get the idea from the lanes created by the concrete blockade.

Why was this done?  I’m guessing there was an accident or two at the entrance, as a car swung too wide in entering or exiting, and somebody decided that “public safety” required that this ugly, stark roadblock was therefore necessary to protect our hapless populace from the acts of a few inept motorists.  Who knows how much it cost in dollars — but the aesthetic cost is tremendous

I can’t help but think it’s a bit of a metaphor for America writ large these days, with some faceless government functionary deciding that everyday people need to be sternly directed into precise channels of behavior.  The result is predictably hideous.

Dog Signage

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The umbrella girl fountain is a favorite spot in Schiller Park for many German Villagers.  Water drips from the umbrella into the basin, making a pleasant splashing sound, and the fountain is ringed by benches and large shade trees that make the area cool even on hot summer days.

But there’s apparently a problem:  kids and dogs want to get into the water to cool off even more.  That’s not good for the fountain.  So the solution was to add a sign — in English for the parents of the kids, and in dog language for our canine friends.

Kasey apparently is a good reader, because she’s never tried to climb into the fountain to share space with the umbrella girl.  Good dog, Kasey!

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