The view arrested my attention as I was passing by, making a survey of the park, just like the bear that went over the mountain. This was more than just the other side of the mountain, however, so I stopped, parked my little blue truck where I was certain I wouldn’t get a ticket and walked to the side of the road overlooking a small stream flowing out of the successional forest and down toward the Muny. Sunlight was streaming through the trees of Owl Hill, illuminating the pool of water and the still unmelted snow that was there.
Now our sun is my favorite star, seeing as how it keeps the planet from turning into one giant iceball, which would be a real drag as it would run up my heating bill something awful, but it doesn’t have the best name in either our galaxy or any others. When we start looking up to the night sky (hard to do in the city) and buying astronomy books, we quickly discover that other stars have much better names than the one that grows our crops, keeps us warm and makes hot dogs and beer so darn popular in the summer time.
Take Betelgeuse, one of the principals of the constellation Orion (if you’ve never star-gazed before, you may have to hunt for it), sitting as it does on his right shoulder. It has a great name, sounding like you’re squeezing bugs for some sort of health drink. It is, though, a Super Red Giant, big enough, apparently, to occupy all the space from our own little star (twinkle, twinkle!) out to Mars. So it turns out to be a good thing that it’s about 750 light years away, otherwise our planet might be too hot for our air conditioners to handle.
So there I am, by the side of the street, with the perfect photo about to be composed by yours truly, long before I was distracted by thoughts of far away places, and then I noticed some trash in my scene. Unlike Oscar the grouch, I hate trash, and am so annoyed with the members of my species that leave it behind that I pick it up and take it with me. I ran down the soggy bank toward the bicycle path and the now-not-so-photogenic woods to remove the offending item.
It was a water bottle and it looked brand new.
“Nice!” I thought, “I’ll take it home and use it.” Then I noticed the objects within. A plug-in fan for USB (run it off your phone, after all what else is it good for since you never call your mother!), a bottle opener with the Forest Park Forever logo on it (I’ll drink to that!), and a note instructing me to take a selfie, post it to Instagram with the RunForestPark you-know-what and then wait for my contact, who would be wearing jogging shorts, a red shirt and aviator glasses and would greet me with the words,
“Venezuelan birds fly to Saint Louis for the summer.”
I would reply, “That’s kinda hard to swallow, buddy.” and a coupon for a free seasonal locker in the Forest Park Visitor Center would be awarded me.
I paused and looked around. Surely someone, somewhere was watching.