Welcome to Echo Park Lake–Such a beautiful surprise!

Now you know you have a history lesson coming. There is so much I would like to share with you, but the story can wait.

 I am so enthusiastic about the completion of this two-year $26 million project to revive and invigorate a 13-acre lake that provides an oasis right in the shadow of Los Angeles’ downtown skyline. Oh the history…but later.


For now, maybe these gorgeous lotus flowers will speak to you as they speak to me.

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” From Goldie Hawn’s memoir, “Goldie, a lotus grows in the mud.”

66 thoughts on “Welcome to Echo Park Lake–Such a beautiful surprise!

    1. I can’t keep my eyes open, M-R. It’s been a long day. 🙂 I’ll follow up with the story in just a day or so. It’s been more than a week since I’ve posted so I thought maybe I should at least get my nose out there. LOL. More to come–I promise it’s worth the wait. ox

    1. You really made me laugh with this comment,Lori. You’re so right. Goldie may have more to say than I also would have previously considered. I’m now thinking I might like to read her book. I hope you are doing well…well enough. ox

    1. California is a really big state with some areas doing better than others, Jo. And water is being apportioned differently from city to city, too. Fortunately we do still have a few green spaces left–so far so good. 🙂

    1. Isn’t it a gem, Koji? You just must get over there while the lotus are blooming. I will finish telling how the lotus came to the lake and it’s a great story! But also, I didn’t show the paddle boats. Do you remember those from the past? They’ve created an absolutely wonderful oasis, but I’d recommend coming over during the week, if possible. It’s street parking only and very crowded on the weekend. Just keep that in mind. 🙂

    1. I was sorry I just couldn’t stay awake last night to tell the story, but I will, Meg. I want to share how the lotus came to the lake in the first place. It’s a “truth is better than fiction” moment. 🙂

    1. I’m going to enjoy watching the lifecycle of these lotus, Kate. I have one in my backyard, but en masse they are just fantastic. I love the pods! I wanted to wade out and gather a few, but of course, I resisted. 🙂

  1. I can almost smell the lotus blossoms, Debra. What an oasis Echo Park Lake must be amid the concrete.

    Just last night (Wednesday), on a local PBS show, there was a segment of a lake in the norther region of Illinois, Grass Lake, which is part of the Chain-o-Lakes region, where there lotus bloom, and here you are, tempting us with this post. I look forward to the history lesson.

    A few years back, on one of Open Days for the Garden Conservancy, one of the gardens, which is but a few miles from our house, has a pond where lotus bloom. The gardens and pond is well hidden, but, I’m often tempted to get out of my car and just walk around and peep between the foliage. 🙂

    1. Since visiting Echo Park Lake and seeing these gorgeous lotus blossoms I’ve been reading up on them a little bit and wondering about cultivating them. I have one in my backyard pond that put out so many leads this summer. Now what I’m going to do with them if I do cultivate “pups” I have no idea. My pond isn’t that large! But it’s fun to consider. There’s a little house on Balboa Island that I began noticing the yard years ago and it’s very overgrown, but somehow really speaks to me. Every time we are in the vicinity I have to do my best just to get a peek. It really speaks to me somehow. I think you and I are kindred spirits, Penny. I think you must find a way to push aside the foliage and take a look at “your” pond, Penny! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the link to Brown is the New Green, Cathy! I just subscribed. It appeals to me for many reasons, and I’m glad you told me about it. I love the dogs, too! 🙂 I’ll post in a day or two about the story of how the lotus came to Echo Park Lake. It’s a really fascinating story. There are so many twists and turns it takes me a while to work it out. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the nice compliment, Tom. As I’m sure you know well, I do pick and choose what I share, don’t I? LOL! It’s certainly not all very nice, but I do enjoy finding the gems that are unexpected. 🙂

  2. Looks good, looking forward to the story.
    There was a lost wondering turtle in LA the other day, I saw the news of it, I thought it could be darwin but gladly wasnt.

    1. Echo Park Lake does have a really interesting story and I am eager to share how the Lotus found their home there. 🙂 And yes! The missing Sulcata Tortoise. The 150 pound wanderer was found in the city next to where I live, so I had friends calling me and asking if it was Darwin. Fortunately, Darwin was at home and also fortunately, he isn’t yet 150 pounds. God help me when he is…I’m already having a hard time keeping him happy. 🙂 I’m so glad you thought of him. He is a special guy!

  3. Goldie is so right about the Lotus:

    The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight.

    This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

    According to another scholar, “the heart of the being is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein, the lotus blossoms.”

    Excerpts from: The Lotus Symbol in Buddhism.

      1. Yes, Nancy, the walking path does go all the way around the lake. I didn’t yet share that there are little paddle boats for rent, too. It’s a delightful open space with multiple options for easy exercise. I hope to get around this weekend to putting a little post together about how the lotus came to populate the lake in the first place. It’s a great story! 🙂

    1. I’m just starting to read a little bit about the lotus symbolism and I’m really quite fascinated. It comes to me at a good time, and I have one healthy lotus plant in my backyard pond which I’ve loved for it’s beauty, and now I’m looking at it a little differently for how it can remind me of some very important life lessons. Thank you for sharing the wisdom of the Lotus, Nancy.

    1. I’m so glad it’s the weekend and I can get some rest. Thank you! The walking path around this lovely little urban lake is very appealing. I’m eager to go back another time and just sit and enjoy. I hoe you have a good weekend, Marie. ox

    1. Urban oasis is the perfect way to describe Echo Park Lake, Kristy. It’s situated in the most unlikely of places, but it’s quite a draw. Last time I was there people were sitting on the grass reading or having a picnic, there are small paddle boats and artists painting…it’s just wonderful! It’s so busy on the weekends and I don’t have a lot of time during the week, so I won’t go often, but I’ll definitely want to watch the cycle of the lotus and see how they do year-round. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. 🙂

  4. Excellent selection of photos Debra. You know, once a petal has been opened it can be closed again for reopening at a time when it seems suitable to the individual. Taking a flexible approach to life is as important as growing with experience 🙂

    1. You are so right about flexibility, Martin. Sometimes our lives seem to expand and at other times contract and so often it’s more about how we respond then the circumstance itself.I have lotus in my backyard and they are quite resilient despite their delicate appearance. There’s a lesson in that, too. 🙂 The story behind how the Echo Park Lake lotus came to be there in the first place is such a great story that I’m really eager to share it. I will do that next time…when I can sit long enough to pare it down to less than a small book. 🙂

    1. Echo Park Lake is in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles and is just so unexpected. I’m so glad I could share the photos, and the story surrounding these particular lotus is really remarkable. I’ll share it next time. I understand at least some of the components contributing to being buried in mud, my friend. And in some ways I can really relate. Sometimes I just keep repeating, “This too shall pass!” Tried and true! Hope you have another unplugged weekend and find some relief. ox

  5. I’ve always loved lotus blossoms; in fact, my favorite nature photos are the ones I took of lotus flowers reflecting in a mirror-like pond. This looks like a beautiful place. I love the quote from Goldie Hawn, I had no idea she was so deep. Thanks so much for sharing that, I think we all have times in our lives when we need reinforcement from those words.

    1. I love lotus blossoms, too, and have one in my backyard pond. It’s really put out runners this year and after seeing how the lotus proliferated in this lake I’m realizing I need to know something about cultivating them. Of course what I do with them if I do cultivate “babies” I have no idea. LOL! The story behind the lotus in Echo Park Lake is really interesting and I’ll share in the next couple of days. I simply didn’t have time last night to pare down a really big story into something a little less dense! And as for Miss Goldie, I’m now wondering if I might enjoy her book! If this quote (and subtitle) is indicative of her memoir then I now I would enjoy it! I’m glad I could share this with you! 🙂

    1. Echo Park Lake is such a surprise to me given the location, Perpetua. It has a long history, but for many years I think it had been neglected and wasn’t very appealing. The upgrades and renovation have been wonderful. Every once in a while the city gets something right. 🙂

  6. The lake is beautiful. It pops up out of the ground like a true oasis. I love lotus flowers and yes, they do have to grow in mud. I’m sure that lake is going to be a magnet for residents all year round xx

    1. I have always believed lotus were beautiful, but a day spent at this oasis really intrigued me. I have been reading about starting lotus from seed and think I’d like to give that a try. Echo Park Lake really is in the oldest part of Los Angeles and the renovations and I hope to visit frequently. I will need to go during the week, however, as on weekends everyone else wants to be there, too. 🙂

  7. Beauty emerging from mud, soil, dirt…profound symbolism Debra and understood by every gardener, philosopher, teacher, mystic and social worker. Thanks for these lovely photos and food for thought…

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos from Echo Park Lake, John. It’s such a surprise to most people who don’t know the area well. The history surrounding the lotus in the lake is really a fun one. I look forward to sharing it. 🙂

    1. I hope to get my act together tomorrow, Cristine. I’m eager to share about Echo Park Lake’s history. You probably already know much of it, but I’ve learned a lot just since visiting. It’s a great story…I just need to pare it down a bit. LOL!

  8. dandyknife

    How come the palm trees are grey for the first few feet? Is it natural aging, protection put on by the park staff, or an overabundance of very tall pet dogs?

    1. The palms are trimmed, and as such, the palm “skirt” removal seems to leave the grey color. I don’t know why some more than others, but the Mexican Fan Palms are really some of the oldest in the area and so some of the coloring could be natural aging. These particular palms are very well manicured in comparison to so many all over Los Angeles so sometimes it makes them hard to compare. Some look so straggly! Tall dogs! Good guess, though. 🙂

  9. Pingback: The amazing survival of the Asian Sacred Lotus of Echo Park Lake | breathelighter

  10. Dear Debra, I’m looking forward to the history lesson, which I’ll read after writing this comment. Thanks so much for the photographs of the 13 acres–the lake and the flowers, sculptures and inhabitants–and thanks also for that quotation from Goldie Hawn. It gave me a lot to ponder. Peace.

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