Friday, June 20, 2014

One Word: Wildflowers

I'm fresh off a screening of a fabulous documentary by Carey Lundin about the life of Jens Jensen, Jens Jensen: The Living Green.

It reminded me of the hours and hours I've spent sketching wildflowers in the many Jensen-designed and Jensen-inspired gardens and parks in and around Chicago.

And that reminded me of the tremendous head start Chicago has in being a place that is inspired by the beauty all around us to do the difficult things that are needed.

And Chicago is so beautiful all summer long, there's no reason to leave the city. Think of all the carbon emissions save on car and jet travel!

Don't just watch the documentary; get out and see the beauty that Jensen has bequeathed us.

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It seems that an entire industry has emerged around the challenge of fully
capturing the beauty of the Jensen-inspired Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.

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One of the things I learned from The Living Green is the careful thought that
Jensen gave to the pleasure of sitting in the shade and looking out into the sunlight.
A perfect place to see this is at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, just north of the
Lincoln Park Zoo. This jewel of a park honors Jensen acolyte Alfred Caldwell.

Just a block north of the Caldwell Lily Pool, North Pond is surrounded by
an inspiring diversity of wildflowers. (See map and be amazed!)

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A few miles farther north is the nature area at Montrose. Describing it will
require an entire blog post all its own -- it's got dunes, a bird-filled
meadow, shady groves, and a view of the city skyline above a riotously
colorful acres of wildflowers.

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The McCormick Bird Sanctuary -- an unexpected expanse of sheltered
wildflower meadow -- lies just south of McCormick Place, and is
accessible via the Lakefront Trail.

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Just north of the city, one can walk through acres of shoulder-height prairie
wildflowers of the kind that inspired Jensen at Somme Prairie Grove.

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You'll know you're really hooked when you find yourself prowling the Schulenberg
Prairie at Morton Arboretum in search of new types of wildflowers to sketch!

Summer in the city in Chicago: does it get any better than this?

Related posts

I ask myself if there is a gospel message in all of this. Perhaps material for a parable? I imagine Jesus saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pond ringed by a small number of trees and a large number of native prairie wildflowers . . . .”

(See "North Pond: Eternity in an Hour" on The Messenger - blog of St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square)

I love to walk around North Pond here in Chicago and notice the asters as September stretches into October. They make me think of my mom . . . .

Any day that starts with morning glories on Point Alanna is a good day!

When I first heard about the "cottonwood pulling" task, I thought, "Hah! That'll never be me!"