Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Out for a stroll (exploring the Shaker Lakes)

My view of Horseshoe Lake in Shaker Heights. Taken, unfiltered, on Earth Day. (4/22/13)

Springtime in Northeast Ohio is a bit erratic. One day it's 80 degrees and feels like California. The next it drops 30 and thunderstorms are on the way. So on a day where the sun made an appearance, I felt it appropriate to take advantage and walk to my heart's content. 

As an almost-native Southern Californian, I've been accustomed to year-round summer. That's why I've been diggin' the seasons here in Cleveland. The transition from winter to spring is absolutely glorious. Blankets of snow make way for the endless variety of blooming plants, trees and flowers. White daffodils, orange tulips, purple rhododendrons, yellow marigolds and buttercups. Milkweed, witch hazel, goldenrod, sassafras, spicebush. My eyes feast on delicate white and pink blossoms sprouting from the cherry and redbud trees.  

A few days ago I explored the Shaker Lakes, a man-made lake system that straddles Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. Created in the mid-19th century by the North Union Shaker Community, the Shaker Lakes and Watershed area spans 7,500 acres and offers numerous walking trails around the Lakes' swamps and woodlands. 

My feet took me from Shaker Lakes at Coventry Road and along
North Park Boulevard all the way down to Horseshoe Lake and back.

Walking outside clears my head. It's the ginger to my creative palette. When I'm out of ideas or need inspiration I find all I need to do is simply walk outside my front door. A few days ago, this is what I saw:

Springtime in Cleveland. Gorgeous.

I snapped this on my walk and I'm not sure what kind of flowering tree it is. Maybe witch hazel, cornelian cherry or golden glory dogwood? Where's a botanist when you need one?

Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost candles the grass, or casts an icy cream upon the silver lake or crystal stream: But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth, And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth to the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree the drowsy cuckoo and the humble-bee. Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring, In triumph to the world, the youthful spring. 
-- Thomas Carew (c. 1640)

Doan Creek watershed. 

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. 
--Song of Solomon 2:11-13

I found these fun vintage images inspired by the Shaker Lakes.

Lower Shaker Lake excursion in 1910. (Image: Doan Brook Watershed Partnership)

Early boaters on the Lower Shaker Lake. (Photo: Cleveland Heights Historical Society)