It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.
By the time we get to the park, the sun is behind clouds. The temperature still registers warm, but without the sun it’s cool. Nevertheless, we pull into the parking lot and set out to walk around the park.
This park, ripe with memories, is familiar and comforting. This is the blessing of having deep roots in a place.
When my kids were toddlers, we attended a mom and kids group here, in a building that is no more. Lifelong friendships were formed.
I rode my bike here in the morning after the kids were off to school, before life became too busy for such a thing.
My son played countless baseball games here—we lived in this park during baseball season, consuming an endless supply of Spitz sunflower seeds.
Gerry and I golfed here, when there was still a course, before soccer fields took over the space, my husband ever-patient with my beginner game. And there was that time when he hit a long drive and the ball came to land on top of an unsuspecting duck.
And we walked, before we were married and after, when we lived nearby: spring, summer, fall, and winter. We took photographs and walked, and talked, and walked, and talked.
Today, again, we walk and talk.
We note the presence of mallards, and swans, and geese—many, many geese—and a fellow sojourner tells us she spied a marmot and a squirrel. It’s spring. We remember the last time we were here, when we sat on a bench in the late afternoon sunshine eating cheeseburgers on, what turned out to be, the last warm day of autumn.
On this day, halfway around, we decide to take the shortcut back. I’m glad for the suggestion because my ears are complaining about the cold.
We arrive back at our car and I see another couple, older than us, getting out of their car. She carries a pair of ear warmers and I remind myself to do the same next time.
We’ll be back soon, I hope, because it’s spring. And spring should be spent in a park.
(When you’re not in the garden.)