Monday, April 17

a park

Riding past the blooming trees to work today I remembered something I saw a few months ago, before I started this blog.

I was going out with L one evening and had time to kill before I picked her up, so I drove out to a sleepy little town a few miles from mine. I had been to the bookshop there recently to buy a book as a gift for someone and noticed a park that my mom used to take me to when I was younger. On this day, when time was my victim, I decided I'd go check it out. It was still winter and around 4:30 or 5, so I figured I'd be alone (no parents wondering why a tall bearded boho was hanging around near their kids). I parked nearby and walked in.

The park was just as beautiful as I remembered; at the front was an old brick wall with a large iron gate. It opened into several flights of cement stairs flanked by a small (mostly dried) pond and very tall trees. I walked up to the top and found the slide that I used to love - it is about 20 feet tall and spiral-shaped (it was a lot smaller than I remembered it - probably because I'm 6' now) - and new playground equipment to its right. A tall flag post - adorned with a flapping American flag - marked the center of the square and a beautifully shaded WWI memorial filled the left-side wall. Since the park was at the top of a hill it afforded an amazing view of the setting sun.

I strode around, pausing under the trees and reading the memorial. I watched the sun for several minutes. It was incredibly serene and peaceful. Before long life butted in and reminded me I had a girl to pick up, so I headed back down the stairs. Passing through the gate to the sidewalk I noticed an old plaque thanking a local benefactor for funding the park's construction, originally as just a WWI memorial.

At that moment I realized what the park was: A beautiful stage of peace funded by a capitalist to memorialize a terrible war offering a place for today's children to grow and epitomizing ebullient nationalism.

And should any of those parts be left out, it would not exist as it does now: a whole.

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