I had to go downtown to return Exupery’s library books so I thought I would take a walk along the trail that runs through Austin’s greenbelt. This bridge is one of my favorite spots.
I like to watch the turtles and snakes that live underneath. The reptiles are still on strike against my camera though so when I paused at the bridge I had to make do with some shots of a green heron instead:
Of course I missed the two best shots! The one where the heron caught a tiny silvery fish and the other of the guy standing next to me who gaped in astonishment. =)
The body of water beneath the downtown area of Austin was constructed in 1960. I think everyone in Austin treasures this space. I believe the water originally came from the Colorado River. I’m not sure what to call it. The reservoir used to be called Town Lake but after Lady Bird Johnson died it was renamed in her honor even though she said that would make her uncomfortable. I admire Mrs. Johnson’s conservation efforts so I would hate to do something that would betray her wishes.
I don’t know if she was being modest or if there were other issues. For example, the park trails are not fully ADA accessible and that was one of her causes. To be fair, the city has made some changes to improve accessibility.
For those not burdened with mobility issues, the greenbelt includes lots of jogging and biking trails. I prefer to walk and it really is a refreshing oasis though a bit of a guilty pleasure. After all, that water came from some place that might have wanted or needed it for more than recreational purposes. I suspect this fact was one of Lady Bird’s (perhaps secret) objections to having her name attached. Big projects like our lake, dams, agriculture and fracking (!) are killing the Colorado River and all the lives that depend on it. The Colorado River doesn’t even normally make it to the ocean anymore because of our unsustainable practices combined with the pressure of this drought. A good but depressing summary of some of the problems can be found here.