Oh, Lake Merritt, how I love running around thee. You’re an endless source of inspiration, conversation, and visuals I never could have dreamed up on my own. Late last week, I witnessed two octogenarians who had brought a flock of unleashed cats to the lake. These felines were roaming a small patch of grass, not harnessed or corralled by any means, just plodding around as if they were often brought outside and did not spook away.
The pigeons are becoming more and more bold, or perhaps less and less intelligent. They rarely flutter out of the way of travelers who are using feet or wheels to traverse the terrain. I’ve literally nicked two little guys during the week as I attempted to weave around their feathered community. At the last minute, they might skedaddle, but it’s always too late. I throw my arms up to protect my face (yes, I fear bird claws near my nose) and usually wind up doing a modified “running through tires” gait in my attempts to not be the newest victim of The Birds.
Stranger still? No, not the boys who sit on the lake’s edge strumming guitars, nor the saxophonist playing into the wall. Not even the two men taking turns carrying each other up the steps of the Cleveland Cascades. It wasn’t even the man who stopped me to ask for my phone number as I crossed the street (which seemed like a terrible place to get a gal’s digits). Perhaps the most strange thing I’ve witness lately around Lake Merritt was this:
Yes, a yellow snake in the grass, who was being supervised by his ultra punk/hipster mom and dad. As I ran toward the Lake Chalet, the couple opened what looked like a gym bag and pulled this hefty lady out, plopping her merrily on the lawn and then sitting back to sunbathe themselves. They were very kind about letting me share space with the slithering gal, and even offered me hand sanitizer if I wanted to pet her. She poked her head up toward me, stuck out her tongue, and then moved on as if I were not a tasty looking snack. Thank. God.