Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Night of the lotus stems and geese


Photo: By Joanthan Williams

Jonathan Williams sent me these pictures of Echo Park Lake at nighttime, geese on patrol (when do they sleep?) and lotus twigs. There was filming at the lake that night -- what looks like fireworks deep in the background is a spot light spilling onto a royal palm (or is it some other kind of palm?). Those mop-headed trees are charismatic in so many ways, and not just because rats and birds live in them.

As for the dead lotus stems, which are rendered so elegantly in this picture, below, I've been thinking about them recently. For many years, it's been the practice of Rec and Parks to grapple the lotus stems out of Echo Park Lake after the petals have dropped. This year, it wasn't done. The stems have been there, been there, been there. Not that they're bothering anyone, but I wonder about the departure from policy -- were there just too few to bother with this year? Maybe the practice is being reconsidered -- which makes me wonder about the lotus bed's own departure from policy: 2007 was a dismal year for the plants. Usually the lotus fill the northwestern thumb of the lake, starting in the spring. Last summer maybe only a sixth of the usual number came up. No one seems to know why, though theories abound: too much oxygen in the water, some kind of poison draining into the lake, water is too clean (ha!), not enough rain (huh?). And these twigs are a constant reminder.


Photo: By Joanthan Williams

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