by Jennifer Adele
The Writing in Nature column is a new and original feature here on Walrus Publishing that I will be creating content for regularly. It is meant to showcase the many inspirational spots all around St. Louis that have both nature-based attractions and deep founts of truly local inspiration… a sort of natural selection of location muses for writers. To kick things off, I thought I’d begin this ongoing series with a pristine and historic example, Carondelet Park.
Carondelet Park was established in 1875 and is the third largest park in the city of St. Louis. The park contains nearly 180 acres and is located in the southeastern portion of the city, just west of Interstate 55, and is easily accessible at the Loughborough Avenue exit. This park is also part of the historic and picturesque district of Holly Hills and is very near to Bevo Mill. If the park itself doesn’t get the creative juices flowing for you as an author, perhaps some of the gorgeous homes and awesome cemeteries that border it might do the trick.
One of the most unique architectural features in Carondelet Park itself are the pergolas on Boathouse Lake. The pergolas are unique structures where one can sit and relax while fishing or just enjoying the cool breeze and each one has a beauty all its own. For deep founts of inspiration, I like to sit in the center of each one and create a story about the structure from historical fiction to fantastic and even suspenseful fantasy. There are so many possibilities for story lines just stemming from the structures.
From spiraling trees to sprawling lakes, from flamboyant fountains to dipping valleys and hidden coves, Carondelet has it all. The undulating landscape and beckoning wildlife are enough to stir the primordial in any writer, painter, or poet… nature being the eternal muse. And with nearly 180 acres to explore bit by bit, the potential for inspiration seems never ending; the potential for connecting with something larger, greater, and deeper is certainly there. Visit Horseshoe Lake to see any number of ducks and geese year round. Stop by the reclining valley that was once host to a volleyball court but has since turned wild. Explore the vast expanse of several open fields while simultaneously opening yourself up to new avenues of creativity, unique self-expression, and a lush beauty that only nature can conjure.
Carondelet Park is definitely one of my all-time favorite spots to summon the muse as a local author. I go there to find my center and to find story lines in historic details, details that can twist and turn all throughout the writer’s process. Perhaps it’s the grand architecture that is so signature of the area that makes me suddenly want to write, or the rolling hills of a land that I grew up on. Whatever the case, why not get out there and see what Carondelet might hold in store for you?