Autumn Van Ord and Lisa McCall
Wyman Park, Baltimore, MD
2021

Story Info

McCall VanOrd

Story & Experience

Lisa McCall and Autumn Van Old have been coming to Wyman Park for this event since 2011. The Stoney Run flows through Wyman Park on its eventual way to the Chesapeake Bay. The stream is free flowing until it reaches the end of the park and the water enters a small tunnel. Over the years the city has implemented a stream restoration plan that has slowed down the stream, particularly important when heavy downpours resulted in bank erosion and the depositing of much garbage around the entrance to the tunnel. We are pleased to see the benefits of the stream restoration.
Other things have not changed—the park trails are heavily used, the water is polluted and there are invasive plant species in abundance.
There is much beauty here—the music of the stream over the rocks, the sounds of many birds in the trees, a soft wind blowing the scent of cool waters to me. An immature blue heron came to visit; camouflaged as gray as the rocks, it would have been invisible except for its movement. Typical of herons, it was focused and still most of the time. It did catch something (a crayfish, perhaps—I have not seen fish in the stream) and I watched it struggle to subdue and swallow whatever it was. In contrast a female mallard flew in to some still water downstream from the heron—quacking heartily when she came and when she left.
For our visit here we both enjoyed the beauty and quiet in this green reserve in the middle of Baltimore City. We both concurred that the place was beautiful and wounded— not unlike ourselves.

Why this Place?

Wyman Park, Baltimore, MD

Wyman Park is an urban park in Baltimore City; concerns for place include erosion, invasive plants, high use and poor water quality.

Act of Beauty

Say more about your actions and activity

A few days before this event, a friend had given me a small bouquet of flowers. To symbolize the struggles of the last year I brought a red rose that had dried up and some daisies – looking as fresh as one might expect. The flowers themselves represented friendship and mutual support –  that which helps us through difficult times. The beauty and impermanence of cut flowers – already manifesting in the rose and soon to be in the daisies. Beauty and death and wounding and impermanence. We created our radjoy bird and used the flowers as the tail feathers.

Image Credit:

  • McCall VanOrd: Lisa McCall

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.