About three miles from my house is a place called Bradley Lake Park. It’s not a big place — the lake itself takes up most of the acreage, and the trail around it is less than a mile long (.8 of a mile, according to the little sign where the path from the parking lot Ts into the lake trail itself). And it’s directly behind a Walmart.
But you’d never know that to look at it. Or to walk through it. I’ve seen a bald eagle catch a fish out of Bradley Lake. I’ve seen rabbits and squirrels there, and of course the resident populations of coots, ducks, and Canada geese. In the summertime it’s green and lush, and there are more wildflowers than you’d expect — ranging from skunk cabbage, which is much prettier than its name — it looks like bright yellow candles rising from the ground, Siberian miner’s lettuce with pinkish white flowers that look like something a kid would draw, wild geraniums (as opposed to pelargoniums), hawkweed, bleeding hearts, and even the occasional tiger lily.
But not in the wintertime. Of course, here in western Washington state, winter isn’t what it is in other parts of the country, and if you didn’t know any better, some of the photos in the slideshow below look like they could have been taken in summer — especially those showcasing an unusually blue sky (no, it doesn’t rain all winter here) and bright green grass. Our grass doesn’t go brown in the winter. Unless it’s watered, it goes brown in the summer.
Winter is more subtle here, and it has more subtle beauties. And this is what my little park behind the Walmart looks like in early February: