I was photographing these wildflowers in the vacant lot across the street from my house yesterday when a National Park ranger drove up in his golf cart and gave me a talking to. I should explain that much of downtown Lowell is a national historical park, and even some of the ratty old lots are part of the park, as they often run alongside the canals that were used to power the textile mills. The rangers give boat tours--which are pretty wonderful, I might add--on some of these canals.
The ranger wasn't scolding me for photographing on park property. He was explaining to me that this is a pretty dangerous neighborhood and I might not want to be wandering alone around here taking pictures. "Don't venture out into the tall grass, Miss," he said. "There are homeless people and all sorts of bad news out there."
I told him I appreciated his concern, but that the front door of my house was fewer than fifty feet from where we were standing. I also had no intention of wandering into the grass, but I didn't tell him that this stemmed mostly from my fear of ticks.
In fact, the lot, to all intents and purposes, is my front yard.
I had just experienced another of what Todd and I have taken to calling a "Lowell Moment."
The flowers in the lot, I might add, are lovely right now--sometimes (not always, I know) a weed is just a wildflower looking for a home.