Day 19 - The Planetarium / by Edward Crim

Tell me I’m not slipping back into the ’70’s! But here he is, John Denver, from somewhere in my distant past singing; 

It's cold and it's getting colder. It's gray and white and winter all around.

And oh, I must be getting older, all this snow is trying to get me down.

So the weatherman lied to us again, at least about the snow, but it is getting down into the temperatures that I consider to be “cold”, just as he said it would. And colder yet tomorrow.

It will come as no surprise to you, dear readers, that I chose to stay inside today. The venue of my choice, the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, sits on the south side of the park and connects via a bridge over US40/I64 to the St. Louis Science center, which lies just outside the boundary of the park. The highway itself is in Forest Park and contributes a great deal of noise to the local environment as well as increased motor vehicle traffic.

But I have come to praise the park, not to bury it. If you are a motion nerd, like myself, you will enjoy the traversing of the highway from the warmth and safety of the Science Center bridge. It comes equipped with binoculars to view the approaching cars and trucks, and radar scopes to nail the speeders and scofflaws in their midst. In the floor of the bridge are three windows, each in one of my three favorite shapes, to enable visitors to get a more intimate view of the flow of traffic. I disdained the square window as it didn’t seem to get much action, and gave my attention to the circle and the triangle.

It’s not water under this bridge!

It’s not water under this bridge!

There was a lot more than just motor vehicles happening there today; the place was packed with families with their young ones and old folks like me and everyone in between. Teen lovers sat on benches and gazed wistfully into each other’s eyes, children shrieked, mothers laughed and fathers piled up the foam blocks that constitute two models of the Gateway Arch, so their children could knock them down again.

I played with the Microsoft flight simulator that is available there, flying my Cessna under the arch, not once, but twice. This would normally endanger one’s pilot’s license, but with the FAA employees riding out the government shutdown, I figured no one would notice. I was’t quite able to get the plane under the Poplar Street Bridge, though, having to ditch it in the river and swim for shore.

You should try it.

Mein hut, er hat auch drei ecken.

Mein hut, er hat auch drei ecken.