Here There Be Monsters … Or Should Be

Grotto monsters

Two drakes, the closest we are to Grotto creatures, April 17

Aye, talk like a pirate. A Grotto pirate.

One of my favorite spots on the MMU campus is in need of some TLC—parts of Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto are falling into disrepair. I guess gluing rocks to cement is not a long-term construction solution for the climate of Iowa.

Anyway, I know the Art Program has ongoing efforts to preserve the Grotto, and more power to them.

It’s a serene place, both a place of folk art and a place of spiritual symbolism. As you can see from my earlier posts, I do like the Grotto.

Ducks on the way

Comings at you, a flotilla of feathered fiends! OK, two quiet ducks.

But it would be whole lot cooler with, ala Loch Ness, a mysterious creature. Picture it, some tipsy juniors are erratically weaving their way back in the general direction of the Lower Campus apartments, when suddenly a scaly head breaks the surface of the calm Grotto pond. No sound needed—beyond the student’s startled screams.

Ta-dah! Instant sobriety.

Or think of how much more exciting campus tours would be if a few “don’t feed the creature” signs were necessary to ensure safety near the murky, mysterious waters of the MMU pond.

Sigh. The best we can do is an aggressive squirrel or two. And a couple of drakes.


Squirrel! MMU tree rodents have been known to be aggressive, or so students tell me. They've never bothered me. Not much of a Grotto creature.

But that’s OK. The upcoming “Walk of Mercy,” part of the MMU Center project, will make the Grotto a more prominent part of campus. I don’t think that will detract from it—in fact, I think it’s an enhancement.

Still, can’t blame a guy for wishing for a little Loch Ness magic.

In the narrows

Mallard drakes negotiate "the narrows" near the 10 Commandment Monument.

Drake closeup

A closer look at the dynamic drake duo.

Reflecting drakes

Drake wake on the reflecting pond.

Final duck image

The final duck image--it's all water under the (Grotto) bridge. Maybe a troll for the bridge?



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2 responses to “Here There Be Monsters … Or Should Be

  1. Anne

    “Drake” also means “dragon” iirc. Somehow I have trouble believing in fire-breathing ducks, though.

  2. crgardenjoe

    Ahh, but I like the idea of a fire-breathing duck being the grotto monster, and, after all, fire-breathing ducks, while they seem silly, would be more probable than dragons….

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