Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Lake Diary - swampmeet (updated)

It had been quite a while since I had walked around Echo Park Lake, on a weekday, for no particular reason. So that's what I did today, at noon, with my dog Chyla. I found, once again, that it's a perfect place to be when you have no particular place to go. It was sleepy and quiet, and each person there -- most of the people I saw present were solo -- whistled their own tune. One guy carried a brass instrument but didn't play, another jogged, another sunbathed, another fished. And so on.

The entire place, the ducks, the strollers, the vendors, seemed blissfully unaware of a fairly constant and increasingly vitriolic "conversation" cum shoutfest that has been developing on a neighborhood list serv -- in which a group of neighbors express mostly their fury at a growing informal swapmeet that takes place at the park every Sunday. The complaint is that the vendors who toss down tarps to sell tubesocks, electronics, used clothing, plastic toys are making the park less park-like, ruining the grass, littering, turning the recreational space into a commercial zone. To some of my good neighbors and friends the issue is nearly an obsession. (There has been talk of organizing a protest swapmeet on the green in front of City Hall.) Others argue that the economy being what it is poor people should be allowed a chance to make some money. In any case, there was no outward sign of distress on a Tuesday lunchtime. The water was a weird color in some places, definitely swampy -- a variety of unusual orangey colors and gray-green and gray. Fingerling trout played about in schools, and I saw a few bigger ones who were about six or eight inches. A muscovy duck nestled in the muckiest place in the park -- the northeast drainage corner -- where I saw it a few Sundays ago. A sunflower grew in an unlikely crack in the cement just above water's level. There seemed to be very few ducks and geese compared to what I have remembered from past years. I have heard the Canada goose residents may be to blame. But I was glad to see a mallard mom with three tiny ducklings, or "patitos!" as a toddler called out to them from his stroller. And Our Lady of the Lake had both of her hands. A couple of years ago, she didn't.

*Update: I should add there was no sign of OK Go singing and dancing to this Prince-y song at the Lake:

Some Tuesday snapshots(to be continued after the jump:)


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