My City Park
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I live across the street from a city park.
On the ballot in my county is an initiative to maintain a tax to support those parks and public spaces. When I got a text today asking me to support that ballot initiative, I immediately texted back and wrote “I already voted and I supported this tax.” They wrote back immediately and said “Thank you for your support,” and then I responded right away “Thank you for the parks!”
This past weekend, right there in that park right in the heart of the Cleveland metro area, I walked up on a cricket match being played by at least three generations of competitors.
Every evening there are children of all sizes and ages playing soccer in the grassy fields.
Both basketball courts are used darn near every evening.
I can hear children right now playing on the large and adventurous playground as I write this. In the summer months you can hear them splashing and diving in the community pool.
Mimi and I take a postprandial walk through the park almost every evening.
A few years ago, the park completed the construction of their solstice steps – a set of large concrete steps that slope down from the top of a large hill overlooking Lake Erie and pointed in the direction of the setting sun. Every evening families will assemble there, often having dinner together, and ceremoniously and communally watch the sun go down. It is a favorite spot in the park.
There is a gazebo on the northeast corner of the park, also at the top of the hill overlooking the lake, that has a beautiful view of the cityscape across the water. Wedding couples and prom dates and families and couples all like to gather there for pictures.
It doesn’t matter what time of night or day I go over there, the park always has active walkers, joggers, bikers, couples sitting together on benches and swings overlooking the lake, picnickers at tables sharing meals, smoke from bar-b-q pits, frisbees, dogs being walked, babies pushed in strollers, and with the exception of one guy who showed up briefly one day to fly a huge MAGA flag on his car and shout at passersby there is often a friendly smile and a warm greeting exchanged between strangers.
If I have an afternoon free, I will go and sit on one of the swinging benches that overlooks the lake and read for hours at a time.
On any day, I can overhear conversations in six or seven different languages.
This is one of those spaces where a community finds itself and comes together. It is common, shared space where the beauty of the earth is found in lea and lake, in tree and trellis, in people at play. Just the fact that it is there makes us all feel connected, like we share a common space and in it we are united in the experience of being together in enjoyment.
So sure, I wanted to do my part to support the county’s responsibility to keep parks like this open. A home and a park, a neighbor and a smile – those things go a long way to making life enjoyable on this, our journey Into the Mystic.
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