Monday, June 4, 2012

Morning at Lock Park

In the Shire, a morning in early June is like no other. 
The sky is blue, the sun is warm and bright.
And it's not yet too hot nor too humid.
So early Sunday morning I visited  Great Bridge Lock Park, 
a small park near here that is unique for a couple of reasons.
The first reason it is special is where it's located.
The park encompasses a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway
that meanders from Norfolk to Florida.
According to the City of Chesapeake web site,
the Great Bridge Lock separates the saltwater of the Elizabeth River
from the fresh water of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal.
Canal locks are needed when two bodies of water are at different levels,
so the lock raises and lowers the water level as needed.
The park itself is a small peninsula,
bordered on one side by the canal, the other by the river.

Watching ships move slowly down the canal to wait their turn in the lock
requires forbearance because they cannot hurry.
Before the new Great Bridge drawbridge was built,
the old Great Bridge Bridge (yes, really its name) required the patience of Job.
It was a very small 2-lane swing bridge with a short, solid railing.
Rather than raise into the air,
each of the old bridge sections swung open like a gate.
The bridge required a cooling spray of water on its joints in the summer.
And even then, it would sometimes become stuck partially open,
testing the equanimity of sailors, motorists, and bridge tenders.
The new Great Bridge Bridge, which I'll show in tomorrow's blog, is more reliable.

Here's a charming blue and white boat anchored at Lock Park:

The Park is also a great place to fish.
Not just for humans, but for great blue herons too.
Here's one trying to eat its breakfast in the shade of  a crape myrtle tree:

Here, our heron senses someone near

and departs with his fish for the safety of the opposite shore.

Tomorrow, the second reason the park is unique.

No comments: