During most of the winter in Chicago, the sky is a uniform leaden gray. Today, however, there was a moment of sunrise with some defined clouds. Right under the sunrise are the steel mills of Indiana with their plumes. During summer, the sun will rise over the Chicago Park District field house to your left.
I spotted a photo in the “Snapshots” section under “Fawned Memories” with this caption and thought I should take my own photos (July 8, 2023).
Children drink from the David Wallach Memorial Fountain in 1955. When Wallach died in 1894, he left $5,000 for a fountain near the lake to supply water for “man and beast.” Sculptors Elisabeth Haseltine Hibbard and Frederick Cleveland Hibbard collaborated on the fountain, installed at the 55th Street entrance to Promontory Point in 1939. Elisabeth modeled the bronze fawn after a doe at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Her husband created the marble fountain, which includes a well in its base with water for pets and wildlife. Both had been students of Lorado Taft, who created the Fountain of Time sculpture on the Midway and taught at UChicago. Elisabeth also taught at the University from 1943 to 1950.University of Chicago Magazine, Summer 2022
August 29, 2023
J and I decided to see Save the Tunes at Chellberg Farm, but detoured to Indian Ridge Marsh, or Park 565 in Chicago Park District nomenclature. The last visit to Indian Ridge Marsh was in 2019, when the area by the Norfolk Southern tracks was open water.
First, we had to get there. We passed meadows of native flowers, including compass plants whose disappearance Aldo Leopoldo eloquently lamented. They’re thriving in natural areas in and around Chicago, such as the Calumet Region here and at Morton Arboretum.
We spotted monarchs and other insects, including an army of goldenrod soldier beetles intent on perpetuating the species.
A surprise awaited us at the end of this westbound trail (another trail, too wet and muddy to negotiate in 2019, heads south). The open water had filled in with aquatic plants in on both sides of the trail. which dead ends at the Norfolk Southern line. I hope they’re native. There was a piece of heavy equipment in the area, so I’d guess the Chicago Park District and volunteers are working on it.
I didn’t want to miss Save the Tunes, so I didn’t dawdle on the way to the lot. J called me back to look at beetles, which I never saw because was distracted by this:
This is a female white-banded crab spider, the same species of spider I witnessed killing a painted lady, an Eastern tiger swallowtail, and a skipper at Perennial Garden. They choose a flower and lie in wait for their unsuspecting pollinator prey. This one may have turned slightly yellowish after a few days on this tall tickseed flower. The ones I’d seen before (when I noticed the dying or dead butterflies) were embedded in the more intricate blooms of a butterfly bush or other flower and were nearly impossible to see. The male, by the way, is smaller and more colorful, and dines on nectar.
My final sighting of the day was a pair of American goldfinches on a pair of compass plants, with the female closer to the trail. At Perennial Garden, I’d noted the goldfinches favored the tiny stand of compass plants there.
Aldo Leopold would be happy.
The windy, rainy day overall put me in an autumn mood, and I thought I’d take video of Lake Michigan’s wave action. Instead, I was struck by this unexpected rainbow — the sun wasn’t out.
After months of abnormally dry to severe drought conditions, Chicago had a near record “rainfall event” the weekend of July 1–2, especially on Sunday.
To me, it seemed like a normal rain, but I don’t have a personal basement to worry about. I gave up any thought of outdoor activities and stuck to reading, TV, etc. I figured I’d be grateful if this rain, plus a few others that preceded it, would put a dent in the severe drought conditions.
As of July 11, Chicago was still abnormally dry, but look at the difference.
June 10, 2023:
Same area, July 9, 2023, a little less than a month later:
When I noticed the orange light on my weather radio flashing the evening of July 12, I was hoping for beach hazards or at worst a flash flood watch, but, no, it was a tornado watch. As the sky got darker, it flipped to the red light — tornado warning. Not long after that, the sirens started — an eerie sound in the eerie premature twilight.
Over the next hour or so I saw several reports of tornadoes, starting with Summit in the southwest suburbs. Then it seemed like they were everywhere — southwest, west, north.
The sky brightened for a moment, then darkened, then brightened again just as another brief deluge descended. I looked — yes, there was a rainbow (and a very faint second mirror image rainbow). It faded, then reappeared, or maybe it was a second one in a similar spot. The second, with a faint mirror image like the first, was the full arch, which I couldn’t capture from my window.
It faded as blue sky appeared to the east, then pink from the setting sun tinged the clouds that had piled up.
July 23, 2022
Chicago Parks Foundation is sponsoring “Walk with a Future Doc” at a couple of parks, including Promontory Point. The inaugural walk had three future doctors (in the middle). The sky threatened rain, and when it began to thunder it was time to hightail it home. We got probably a half mile in and information about sleep health as well as a great photo. I missed the next one (every two weeks) as I’m forgetful and it was too hot for me, but maybe later this month I’ll try it again.
August 29, 2021
Steelworkers Park doesn’t seem to get much traffic, but on this day a family was having a picnic not far from the sculpture. It turned out to be Roman Villarreal, the artist. A former steelworker from a young age, he posed with his work.
I realized Mr. Villarreal had been behind this gem at Big Marsh Park.
Back to Steelworkers Park: Some of the old infrastructure has been repurposed into a climbing wall.
After a summer storm on the way back, a rainbow appeared, mandating a stop at Jackson Park near La Rabida Children’s Hospital.
The Chicago Parks Foundation featured one of my Sherman Park photos in their Instagram series, “Seeing the Parks Through the Eyes of the Community.” I am flattered.
Earlier, I had posted my Google Maps photos that had been viewed 10,000 or more times. In many cases, that milestone took awhile, months or even years. For this photo, however, reaching 10,000 views took about a week. This is Sherman Park in Chicago, designed by John Charles Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and Daniel Burnham — any of those names sound familiar? History of Sherman Park here. Canada geese love the lagoon, which was open in places and icy in others.
From the August 10 storms that swept through around 4 p.m. The Flamingo lost a dead tree and most of a live one.