Sunrise 21: Ault Park (Maple Rain Shelter)
A new front rolled through last night. Sometime during the night I remember waking up to the loud crack of thunder. Fortunately by the time 6:15am rolled around, the violent part of the system had moved on and we were left with a quiet peaceful spring shower. The ride up to the park was filled with the surround-sound acoustic profile of water falling from the trees and guzzling storm drains. There was little wind and the rain was light enough to not cause me too much mis-comfort, while being strong enough to ensure I was the only early morning pedestrian.
The visibility from the overlook was only about a mile or so into the valley. The Heekin overlook structure doesn’t actually have a roof, so I decided that if I was going to enjoy a cup of coffee without having rain drops splash it all over my hand, I should seek out some kind of shelter. I decided to search around the arboretum for a natural umbrella – a tree shelter, if you will. I strolled through the arboretum, and found there were a few small trees that could provide some shelter, but most of the trees in the lawn were simply not tall enough or thick enough to provide a decent umbrella. I ventured up to the pavilion side of the lawn. Up against the retaining wall that separates the lower lawn from the upper pavilion lawn there are several older trees. On the west side of the stairs there is a family of 3 trees that provided excellent shelter. If you’re on the front page, please click continue for more 🙂 They reminded me of a holly bush because the leaves were dark green and waxy. Under the canopy of these 30-feet trees there was a central region that overlapped by all of them. I hung out for about 15 minutes listening to the rain and attempting to find a dry spot on my shirt so that I could wipe the lens of the camera. This is kind of gross, I suppose, but I figured out that if I stuck my tongue out and let it dry in the air for about 30 seconds, I could use it to clear the lens of water droplets and precipitation. Don’t judge :). I took a few pictures of my bike against the green lawn and gray overcast sky, and thought about my major tasks for the upcoming week.
After a little while the rain died down to a light sprinkle, and I went off in search of another canopy. I met two young fawns playing in the eastern lawn. I slowed down to a crawl and attempted to get into a position to take their picture. They hung around the outskirts of the park for about 10 minutes before slipping back into the forest.
I climbed up to the patio surrounding the Pavilion, knowing I could always dry off inside the stone structure. On my way around the side of the pavilion, however, I realized that there were several huge maple trees covering the six sidewalk benches. Their canopies were vast and blocked most of the rain and light. A second cup of coffee and a few more pictures with the bike. I love the symmetry in the above picture, as usual. This picture is a bit different in that it is facing the side of the pavilion, rather than the front or back. The reflection provides some nice vertical symmetry along with the horizontal complementary benches.
Behind the bike is the stone monument dedicated to Levi Ault’s original land donation to the city; a memorial stone that sits at the end of the sidewalk. The plaque is a tribute to the late Levi Ault, the gentleman who donated his land for the original purpose of creating Ault Park in 1911. I’d say that this monument is meant to last. I hadn’t really taken the time to check out this section of the park before. The plaque reads “He who creates imperishable beauty deserves himself to be imperishable in the memory of all succeeding generations. This park was the dream, the conception and the gift to the people of Cincinnati, of Levi A. Ault Anno Domini MCMXI (1911)”
On the way out of the park I noticed that the pavilion had put her ballcap on for the rain. I swung out onto the road and tried for a last time to see if the two fawns had emerged from the forest. No such luck. There was, however, a fresh foggy haze blowing in from the valley. I did, however, come across a pair of weeping trees that just two weeks ago were set in full purple blooms. I had my final cup of coffee under the canopy of their weeping leaves. The maples provided a grand opening, but this canopy was low-hanging and cozy.
On the way back to the apartment I stopped to take a closer picture of the mushroom stump from last week. This mushroom is a wood carving that is cut out of the stump of an old tree. This is the second stump-turned-art I’ve seen in the neighborhood, although I can’t remember off the top of my head where the other piece is.