Most Surreal Sight 

Lady of the Lake

It's a sunny afternoon at Oakland's Lake Merritt. Couples cuddle on the grass. Bikers and runners huff around the three-mile dirt path. Moms stroll with kids and dogs. Water birds frolic. All is perfection. And then you see her. She is clad in antique wedding regalia with a full veil and fifty-foot train that trails in the dirt. She holds a lace parasol, and feathered wings sprout from her back. If not for the sun, you might think you were seeing a ghost. The strange bride passes by in silence, slowly and mournfully, greeting those who stare with a wave or slight bow, but never a word. Is she crazy, people wonder? A widow who has come unhinged? Actually, she's a performance artist. "The lake is her groom," explains Erica Blue Greenwell, 33, whose character was inspired during a past stint as a Fairyland youth coordinator. In 1999, Greenwell unveiled the bride -- so to speak -- as a "blessing and greeting to the people of Oakland and to the lake," she says. The Lady of the Lake has been on sabbatical lately, as Greenwell has been busy with Simone Alone, a production of Oakland's Studio For, and the demands of Silas, her newborn. But she has big plans: Expect the mournful bride to return this spring transformed, along with a special guest artist in an all-white baby stroller.

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