I walk a quiet park, moderate-sized with pool, playground, and wetlands.
I’ve walked it for years. It opened a month or two ago, however it took me a while to get back to my walks. Keeping track of days and months is difficult for me during these COVID times.
My circle passes by a summer camp held each and every year for boisterous, energetic children. The silence is overwhelming. Gone are the kickball, soccer and group rallying cries.
This year the kids sit quiet, masked and coloring. Sometimes there is a murmur of conversation. As I leave the circle trail around the camp, a couple of outdoor voices ring out, for less than a minute, then back to silence.
Further on, past another cluster of protected wetlands, the birds sing, and the branches curve in over the boardwalk. This is normal. Then a jet passes overhead. A single passenger plane. As the sound fades away, another doesn’t take its place. The sky is much quieter than before.
I round another corner and startle a multitude of rabbits around the empty playground. The tape and barriers have been removed, but no children play. No one this year will even try the Challenge course. The public pool is closed. I wonder if we’ll be bringing up a generation of kids that don’t know how to swim.
There’s a single park worker engaged in some unknown chore behind the closed restrooms. As I pass, I see a port-a-potty and two handwashing stations on the side of the closed building. Curious, I check them out.
As I expected, the port-a-potty has too high a threshold for a wheelchair to pass. To my surprise, the sinks are hand-activated and up to ADA standards. In future blogs, I’ll discuss my deep dive into Access and Functional Needs and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s become part and parcel of my life.
I begin my second lap. The Canadian Geese have forgotten their place. The large male fluffs up with a warning honk. He follows his warning with hisses and nods in my direction. I’m soon past the empty fields where the geese graze.
At the dock on the little lake, the fishermen are spaced appropriately, each in their painted socially-distant square. They, too, are silent, lost in their own worlds.
I, currently the lone walker in a very busy park, am also lost in my own world. With nary a person to smile or wave out, much less to exchange a “good day”, my thoughts drift to the joy of discovery, to narratives, and stories yet to be told.
I think about Rainbow Hill and all the meanders we once did. I determine that this blog is one missing thing in my life I have the power to bring back. The power to write.