In spite of the fact that once again we are confronted with a winter weather advisory in mid-April, there is fresh snow on the ground, and driving is likely to be somewhat dangerous, I wanted to post about ice out in Elm Park. Elm Park has been the subject of many posts here because it is an iconic aspect of Worcester, Massachusetts and one of my favorite places to photograph. The Park was established in the 1800’s as part of a movement to ease the challenges of urban life, much were, and in some ways still are, considerable. Elm Park was not designed by Olmsted but his firm did work on it later and the landscape still reflects his wonderful perspective. The Park flows. There is a natural circle around two large interconnecting ponds for the walker and park bench resident. The city is everywhere beyond its borders, clearly visible, but you are not in the city if you cling to the ponds, not really.
These ponds always ice up during the winter as the water isn’t moving and they aren’t that big. This winter was no exception. What was different was that the Park was almost hostile to visitors with terrifically high snow banks everywhere. These then started to give way to ice of course as the temperatures warmed. We made our way back there first perhaps three weeks ago. You could hardly walk around the side walks that border the Park without taking your life in your own hands, the ice was so slippery. One week ago, things were better, but not great. This week, all was good. The circle path was clear and the ice, was out. The ponds could resume their rightful place in creating the contemplative mood that the Park’s creators had envisioned.
There were two kinds of parks established during the late 1800’s. Many parks of course were created for exercise and recreation. Some, were created for contemplation. Elm Park fits in that later group. No ball fields here. (Central Park in New York is mostly contemplative, but it is so big it could handle both tasks, though they are largely kept separate.) In my view, water, and the reflections the water creates, are as essential to the contemplative process as is people watching. Our first view of ice out.
As I said, the city is right there, but psychologically distant.
The Myra Kraft Bridge, under construction.
So ice is out in Elm Park, thankfully. Actually, we shouldn’t complain about the weather around here. All that snow has left our Reservoirs full. Folks from California and Brazil probably would not take kindly to complaints about two much moisture.