Driving to Topeka after work was a liberating experience. I was going 70 miles down the open highway that cut through the flat plains with Carrie Underwood's new CD blasting on the stereo and a cigarette dangling from my fingers as I sang along at the top of my lungs to my new anthem "Out of this Town." But arriving in Topeka sent me tumbling back to reality. Out the window, I could see nothing but sadness. Boarded up buildings and crumbling small businesses lined the streets then faded as I moved into the government's district. But once I was past the capitol buildings, devastation took over again. The saddest sight was a wedding cake store that looked like it was just sinking into the dirtiness of the sidewalk.
It was a stark contrast to the signs that celebrated the city. I drove under an arch over a major intersection that brightly declared the city's status as a capital. And on the side was the World's Largest Wren in Huntoon Park. The park itself was sad. In fact, I don't understand why they call it a park. It's a median! A median in the middle of a busy intersection with grass, a sign, a big bird and one picnic bench. But that seems to be what passes for a park in this area. I had passed another "park" earlier that was more a patch of grass between the sidewalk and a parking lot. There was a sign to declare it a park, but nothing whatsoever particularly natural about it.
The World's Largest Wren has no plaque telling its history or purpose. It's just sort of there. It doesn't look well cared for either, the paint is peeling in several places. On its back are thousands of little spikes to keep pigeons from landing on it - sort of ironic I think to keep birds away from the giant bird. I stood around for awhile, waiting for something to happen I suppose. Waiting for someone to be in the park maybe or look at the bird. Mostly people just stared at me and wondered who that chick with the camera was standing in the median. So with a sense of disappointment, I started walking back to my car and dodged the oncoming traffic of rush hour.
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Trip Time: 3 hours
Distance Traveled: 153.5 miles
Soundtrack: Carrie Underwood "Carnival Ride"