Park It.

Through the park, Bittermen, you I love the park. Dudley Moore as Arthur.

One could come up with far better quotes to conjure up an appreciation for the landscapes of cities and towns that we know of as our parks, but this quote has stayed with me through the years for its simple delight. Simple delight is what it breaks down to for me when I consider parks—most all of them. It was Mary Pipher in her book, The Middle of Everywhere that identified parks as the great free gathering grounds–a place open to everyone. She identified it as resource, but I like to think that parks are universal in their appeal as they offer a sense of something familiar. Most every spot on earth—every country, every big city, every small village has some kind of park—a natural area set aside for its citizens and visitors.

Some parks we know of are quite famous and quite expansive, think Central Park in New York City. Today, I think of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris because that is where I sit as I write this. The park is filled with merriment. People are eating lunches on park benches or metal green chairs or lounging on the manicured lawns. Children are running about, others are sailing their boats in the pond. Fountain spray is carried by the wind while the sun dips in and out of the sprawling trees. I have come to this park each day so far and each day it is slightly different. Yesterday morning I met an official in his Parisian security cap and suit unlocking the tall iron gates so I and the multitudes of runners could traverse the pathways. Two days ago, a piano concert of Chopin music filled the air as the listeners broke baguettes and licked ice cream cones.

For as beautiful and well attended this park is, it draws me back to the park I know best in this world—The Arboretum in Lindley Park, my home town. I have walked it, ridden my bike through it, or run across it more times than I can possibly recount. I know to watch for the purple and white lilacs, listen for the drum of the large wind chimes, enjoy the quiet starkness winter brings, and enjoy waiting for the Korean Spice Viburnum to bust open.

Perhaps that is what draws me to the park here, half a world away…the connection I still feel to a place that is far from sight. It is reassuring to know that what I have here today, I have also just around the corner from my home and it is what most everyone has within walking distance. A place for repose, a spot for reflection, an area to be quiet and listen and watch both the outside and inside world go by.

To our simple delights, take thee to the park!


  1. Lisa says:

    Ann, I was in the Arboretum yesterday, and it was windy, and I heard the wind chimes. I do love their sound.

  2. John York says:

    Thanks for the post, Annie. For me, it’s the bike path along Buffalo Creek–not as many flowers as the Arboretum, not by a long shot, but lots of birds, especially the barn swallows, this time of year. Bon vacance.

  3. Nancy says:

    Hi Ann,
    Beautiful post and reminder about how beneficial I is to just have time outdoors in nature. I also loved the Middle of Everywhere and still think of it as I work with families even after many years. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>