Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lake Padden: Sky Water

Lake Padden - October 2014

Lake Padden - October 2015

Lake Padden - October 2015

Lake Padden is one the many beautiful natural spaces that makes Bellingham such an extraordinary place to live. In many European cities, there are great and expansive city parks and gardens, manicured and cultivated, famous places for the citizens to walk around and through. Lake Padden is one of several such beautiful walks in Bellingham, where you see so many friendly faces on their morning, afternoon or evening walks.

The Lake is beautiful and sublime year round, a perfect jewell that transforms throughout the seasons. The well maintained main trail is a comfortable 2.75 miles around. There are several bathrooms spaced along the way. A series of poignant memorial benches can be found spaced around the Lake. There are also two main piers and a concrete fishing area that almost always has a few old men fishing every day during the season.

In the summer, the grassy "beach" on the south side of the Lake fills up with families and younger people, laying in the sun, grilling, inflating floaties, swimming and paddle boarding. It's an idyllic and simultaneously nostalgic scene. Many people walk their dogs around the Lake. There is a contained off-leash area on the north side of the Lake.

There is also a winding set of "backwoods" trails where horses can be ridden and dogs unleashed. Note there are a number of bikers also that occasionally forget others are on the trail. There are also showers and changing areas on the south side. Plenty of parking at both entrances. Plenty of picnic table and grills. Lake Padden is Bellingham's own beautiful Walden, a peaceful, meditative and inspiring natural wonder.

See also: 9 Curious Notes on the History of Lake Padden

In such a day, in September or October, Walden is a perfect forest mirror, set round with stones as precious to my eye as if fewer or rarer. Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water. It needs no fence. Nations come and go without defiling it. It is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off, whose gilding Nature continually repairs; no storms, no dust, can dim its surface ever fresh; — a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun’s hazy brush — this the light dust-cloth — which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still. 

A field of water betrays the spirit that is in the air. It is continually receiving new life and motion from above. It is intermediate in its nature between land and sky. On land only the grass and trees wave, but the water itself is rippled by the wind. I see where the breeze dashes across it by the streaks or flakes of light. It is remarkable that we can look down on its surface. We shall, perhaps, look down thus on the surface of air at length, and mark where a still subtler spirit sweeps over it.

- Walden, Thoreau

Lake Padden - January 2016

Lake Padden - November 2016

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