After 18 years of living in Chicago, I'd still never explored the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. I decided to do something about it, spending a sweltering Sunday afternoon wandering around the pool and its Lincoln Park environs.
I found the entranceway to the lily pool on Fullerton. It has a bit of a "secret doorway" feel. I happened to know that the lily pool is one of Roger Ebert's favorite places to walk in Chicago and that it's precisely that "tucked away," "secret pocket" quality that he likes. Since Ebert was the writer who first showed me the door opening onto a wonderland of film--of Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, etc.--it's fitting that his writing led me to this secret garden as well.
I stowed the iPod and strolled in. I heard the trickle of a gentle waterfall. Then my eye took in the beauty of the lily pool and I felt the city slip away as I began to stroll.
Wind rustled softly in the trees. Birds chirped. I found an outcrop of rock in the shade and sat gazing over the pool and the surrounding woodland plants dotted with yellow and purple wildflowers. The soft hum of traffic seemed quite far away.
I liked the Prairie-style observation area. Even the rock outcroppings seemed influenced by the horizontal Prairie aesthetic.
I caught a few pictures of the wildlife.
After leaving the lily pool I crossed Fullerton and walked all the way around North Pond, stopping for a look at the facade of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
I came upon a mother duck and her ducklings (or, as my sister and I used to call them for some reason when we were kids, "half-baby childs").
At the top of the park I snapped what is meant to be a picture of the Elks National Veterans Memorial. And if this sunbathing beauty got into the shot, well, that's life. Too much trouble to PaintShop her out. Ahem.
As long as I've lived in this town I'm still discovering things that cause me to look upon the familiar in a new way. Who needs to go to Giverny? Monet could have found all the beauty he needed on the north side of the great city of Chicago.