Thursday, 12 March 2009

A walk in the park

When my feet take me out the door for my daily walk, they usually head in the direction of Trinity Park. This piece of green space alongside the Trinity River is one of the few nice places within walking distance, and there's always something to see there.

Along the river itself there are usually egrets flexing their long necks and stalking the shallows in search of fish. A group of cormorants stands solemnly on a metal ring in the middle of the stream. Turtles the size of dinner plates poke their square heads out of the water, or sunbathe happily on the bank, slithering hurriedly into the water as you approach.

In the duck pond flocks of multi-coloured waterfowl home in at the first sound of bread hitting the water. A couple of latecomers skid to a stop as they hit the water and join the gobbling throng.

The squirrels, too, seem to have got in on the act, and a couple approach to within a few feet, sitting up on their haunches like a pair of begging dogs. Most of their cousins, though, are happy with the fuzzy-capped burr acorns, and make a dash for the trees when you appear. A few feet up, they pause, spreadeagled on the trunk, and regard you with bright eyes.

If you follow the loop trail around the park, you pass a corner where there are often three or four cats sunning themselves on the grass - a miniature lion pride in tortoiseshell and tabby. They seem to live wild, although traces of cat biscuits on a nearby rock suggests that someone feeds them.

Raccoon trails cross the path, looking as well-worn as motorways, but their users are not often seen. Once I saw a group under a tree, somewhat cat-like in size and appearance except for their zebra-striped tails and panda masks.

A tiny train runs on weekends and holidays, looping around the park and crossing the river on a narrow trestle to reach the zoo. Kids wave from the brightly-coloured carriages as it goes by.

Overhead, a full-size railway supported on massive black timbers crosses not three feet above your head. Standing underneath as a train passes is a test of the nerve - you can see the beams flex as the endless line of freight wagons rumbles past.

As I head home, lycra-clad cyclists whizz past and joggers pant sweatily by. A group of Mexican teenagers plays basketball under the bridge as I go up the green metal steps and back to the city.

1 comment:

John E said...

I guess I must have missed out on Trinity Park when I came to visit. We'll have to put it on the list of things to do if we ever make it to Ft Worth before you guys leave. Kristal and I took a stroll in Meadow Farm/Crump Park. I think you were with us when we toured the house there? We also saw some turtles, but dinner plates they were not! You know how puppies look different to dogs, and babies look different to grown-ups. Well baby turtles just look like exactly scaled-down versions of their bigger, older kin. No wonder they live so long - it must take years to gradually grow that hard shell into a bigger size. We saw turtles of all sizes basking on a log. Some scurried into the deep as soon as we arrived, but others seemed content to stay and be admired. I imagine they just didn't want their sunbathing interrupted!