A Day at Memorial Park
As I take my first steps into the fresh cut field I feel the squishy wet grass and instantly think of the large blanket I’ve brought with me, thankful I have it to sit on. I find a shady damp spot under a lively apple tree. I start to take in all my surroundings, noticing many things going on in my small area. I acknowledge that even in such a small park every area has its own activities happening. As I take the area in I notice how lively the field is even with no one running through it, see how loved and acknowledged the playground is by people of all ages, and how the trees surrounding the area have made it their home.
The deep green rolling field may look as if it is dead and deserted. However, I can see a whole new world going on. I spot butterflies fluttering around landing graciously on tiny purple and orange flowers, which are growing in luscious patches throughout the grass. I notice now a large dragonfly lands upon blades of grass with tiny drops of water and sucking them up, then zooming off to find another blade to rest upon. The yellow and black bumble bees are buzzing around zipping from blossom to blossom collecting the sweet nectar. Shooting up and up into the tall blooming trees where I am assuming a hidden beehive is, to unload the sugary fluid and returning again to resume their everyday duty. I see an orange and white feline sprinting through the field struggling to catch and devour all three insects, and unfortunately, failing miserably.
When the cat gets weary of this activity, it sluggishly walks over to a shaded spot beneath a weeping willow for its regular catnap. I notice a small bird leaping around the grass and pecking at a mound of yellow dandelions that are flowing in the wind underneath a tall oak tree. The little bird starts squawking at the inanimate flowers as if it was having an argument with the small cluster. I spot a German Shepard with black and brown shades leaping into the air attempting to catch a tennis ball with its slobbery mouth. When it fails the first time it simply picks it form the ground and trots back to its owner and lays it at her feet. When the owner throws it a second time the dog bolts across the field once more and springs to catch the ball with succession. I can hear far away conversations as people walk around the park observing and enjoying the fresh air. As I said before this field is booming with life and many happenings.
As I transition from observing the lively field to noticing the motions of the small playground, I notice how even with not a wide variety of options to choose from the playground is still alive with fun and games. A young girl lazily swings back and forth seeming to be in wonderland rather than concentrating on how high she can swing. Next to the small girl is a baby in the infant swing seat giggling away and clapping for more as his younger sister pushes him slowly back and forth. Even with only two seats to swing on the tall blue swing set is alive and energetic. A few feet away from the swings is another feature of the park that is a child’s version of a zip line. With bright yellow and dark blue colors it stands out the most in the playground area.
It also seems to be one of the favorites because there always seems to be a few children arguing over how long a turn should be or who is next in line. Each child pushes off of the step and zips over to the other side stopping with a thud and trying to catch their balance without letting go of the handle. Just as each kid is done with their turn another one is pushing and shoving to be the next one to try out the fast and exciting equipment. Surrounding the busy zipping, are many red and yellow steps varying from small and low to the ground and gradually growing to larger and taller round steps. A couple of young girls are leaping from step to step, crouching and making ribbit sounds pretending to be a pair of frogs. The last attraction on the playground is a seesaw. However, instead of sitting on it and pushing off with your feet, this is a new kind where you stand on it and jump up and down to move back and forth. I spot siblings teasing each other while rocking back and forth the massive blue and red seesaw. One is jumping as high and hard as they can while laughing whereas the other holds on to the handles as if their life depended on it with a look of fear washing over there face. I notice a few kids are simply darting around the tanbark and seem to be playing tag.
I can see how a couple of the parents are joining in on the tag and having an advantage on size, simply catching the tiny children in on a few leaps. I take a deep breath and the smell of the small cut up woodchips overwhelms my nose. I observe the small groups of adults surrounding the playground, watching after their children, yelling at them to behave, and even laughing at them when they attempt something that obviously in not a good idea. The playground attractions here seem to be enough entertainment for the children and parents visiting the park on this day. Off in the distance there is a blacktop with two massive basketball hoops waiting to be shot at. Unfortunately, the blacktop is deserted. The hot ground is giving an illusion as if heat was rising from it, most likely the reason it is abandoned. Next to this is a single red slide that is also uninhabited. It has one loop around and nothing else surrounding it. I ponder as to why they put it so far away from the other attractions instead of making it apart of this playground as well. The only other attraction in this area is a tall and stout fence used for baseball, but which is also deserted. It saddens me to see attractions not being used. However I think about how this is only one day I am here and that they probably are used numerous times throughout the year.
At a park you are bound to find a large variety of trees and how much support they give. In that aspect this park is no different. There are wide range of trees spanning from size, shape, and types. Starting with the outside surroundings of the park there seem a large number of older oaks that are much taller than the houses on the other side of the fence that separate them. Thrown in a few random spots are some palm trees that are even taller than the massive oaks. With vibrant green palms these trees seem to fan out many feet. As you look your way toward more of the middle of the park you see a scattered array of trees such as, apple trees with decaying fruit, younger and much smaller oak trees, and the beautiful weeping willows with their long snake like branches that create bright green curtains surrounding the tree hiding the life going on inside. I see many birds flying into them as well as fast squirrels scampering up the wood and into the branches scouting for food and shelter. Among the birds I see a couple different kinds.
I see a pair of blue jays soaring from high up in the sky and launching down quickly into the tree disappearing from my sight. Way above the trees I scout out a hawk gliding back and forth seeming as if he is observing everything from high up. I wonder what his view is like and try to picture what the top of the trees look like from his vision. I hear more birds chirping away but they are all hidden from my sight. I also hear the wind brushing through the trees roughly, causing the branches and leaves to shake infinitely. As I look closely to the tree I am using for shade I notice two long line of marching ants, one going up the tree and the other filing down. I try to find where they disappear on the ground but they are too small and blend in too well with the ground. As I look from tree to tree I can see that there are many that provide shade for the few benches and tables with chipped away paint and graffiti. I also see that some of the trees reach the same height as the light posts scattered throughout the park to light it up at nightfall. I find in amazement that the trees holds so much liveliness and provides so many things for everyone.
I believe I have learned that the park is full of life and many different kinds. Whether it is the life in the field, the activities on the playground, or the bustling of the trees Memorial Park is a very active place. I also believe that it is an important place. The field is home for many insects as well as a resting place for people. Not to mention roaming grounds for neighborhood pets. The playground helps provide an escape for children while the parents are happy that their kids are actually exercising. Without the trees birds and squirrels would have a hard time finding homes and there would be very little or no shade to block us from the blistering sun. I believe parks are important and they provide many different things for everyone.