Monday, November 3, 2008

Walking on Water in Overland Park

As the thermometer seeks a set point between spring and fall temperatures, in Overland Park, Kansas, occasional dips below freezing remind us that winter isn't far behind. One of the best places in this city to observe the changing seasons is in South Lake Park. A .4 mile walking path encircles the small urban lake, which is surrounded by old-growth trees, modern playground equipment, much-used half basketball courts, and several picnic tables.

But watching wildlife provides the greatest diversion for walking enthusiasts at South Lake Park. Each spring, fully grown mallard ducks shepherd tiny new ducklings across the glassy water, as baby rabbits venture out in the open. By summertime an occasional blue heron stands, statuesque, beside the shore, before taking flight on a whisper of enormous wings.

As days grow shorter and the wind turns colder, honks from dozens of Canadian geese signal their annual migration to this sheltered place. And, when winter settles in, these noisy guests sometimes walk across the frozen water.

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