It’s the first day of summer, and I feel myself being called out of my house by the sun and the warmth. I could sit outside in my backyard, but I know my neighbor’s dog will be barking at me and ruin the peace I want. I could go for a drive, but I want to feel the sun on my skin.
I decide to go for a walk on one of the trails in my local park.
As I walk through what can only be described as a forest, I am struck by the fact that I’m completely surrounded by nature despite being right in the heart of the suburbs. Walking on a shady path surrounded by tall trees, the sounds I hear are from the wind, the babbling brook, and the little creatures that scurry away from the path as I approach, disappearing into the sea of bushes and flowers. This is a relief from the daily sounds of keyboard typing and car engines and office phone conversations that float over the cubicle walls.
Every once in a while, a family on bikes pass me, or I come across a serious jogger. As I overtake an awkward tween couple holding hands, and then an old woman walking her little dog, I start to think about what incredible things parks are. I think how this particular park in Hunterdon County was the (free) location of my friend’s birthday party last month. On this first day of summer, it’s giving me a place to escape from my everyday routine, a place for the family to bond, for the jogger to workout, the couple to have some privacy, and the older woman a place she can spend time with her dog.
Working for an engineering firm that has designed parks and planned spaces, I know that this one didn’t get here by accident. So, before I leave, I send into the universe a little thank you to all the engineers and government workers whose efforts let me enjoy this beautiful day.
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