Day 22 - Forest Park on the map / by Edward Crim

I may be the only person you know who has actually walked the perimeter of Forest Park. It has an odd shape, sorta like the state of Massachusetts; mostly rectangular with an extension on the south east corner. That extension now hosts the Kingshighway intersection with US40/I64 and an underground parking garage for the Washington University Medical Center, but a bit of it is left as park land and playing courts for racquetball and tennis. Go west along Oakland Avenue and you will reach the southwest corner of the park, directly across Skinker Boulevard from the Giant Amoco Sign (yes, that is its full name). Travel north along Skinker Avenue (it is a downhill ride, which is why we say “way down north”) to Lindell Boulevard, directly across from the University That Ate St. Louis’ West End, and you will be at the northwest corner of the park. From there it’s only a 2 mile walk to get to the northeast corner of the park, where Frank Blair is memorialized in bronze and beloved of birds. It is also where the Jewish Tercentenary monument is, commemorating, when it was built in 1954, the three hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Jewish immigrants in North America (they came from Brazil). This year makes it 365 years. And this is where I spent my time today in Forest Park.

Close by the Jewish Tercentenary monument is a statue celebrating Frank Blair, a St. Louis attorney and Missouri State  and Congressional representative who was instrumental in keeping St. Louis and the state in the Union. Today there was a Robin perched upon it, reminding me of one of Christian Morgenstern’s “Gallows Songs” called “Desire for a Monument”

Set a monument for me,

built of sugar in the sea.

It will melt, of course, and make

briefly a sweet-water lake;

meanwhile, fishes by the score

take surprised a sip or more.

They, in various ports, will then

be, in turn, consumed by men.

This way I will join the chain

of humanity again,

while, were I of stone or steel,

just some pigeon ungenteel,

or perhaps a Ph.D.

would discharge his wit on me.

Frank Blair and friend

Frank Blair and friend