My Arlington park is not well known, but it’s a special place. It meanders along a creek that after a particularly hard rain pushes skunks and foxes into the neighborhoods. On a sunny weekend the heart of my park hosts picnics and cookouts. The aroma from the sizzling grills permeates the air and welcomes all-comers while children circle the picnic tables where their parents lay out paper plates and plasticware. Guests of my park celebrate birthdays, family reunions, and life in general. They sit on benches and talk. They fish in the creek. They skateboard in drainage chutes and climb at the playground. They walk, run, and cycle on shaded trails and over wooden bridges. Some push strollers. Some are lead on a leash by their dog. Some harvest pecans and others simply watch for wildlife. My park is home to bobcats, coyotes, red-tailed hawks, armadillos, rabbits, snakes, and of course squirrels and squirrels and squirrels.
At dusk and into the night my park comes alive, just as most of its guests are leaving. Fireflies often glow along the creek as bats soar and dive overhead. Owls hoot. Coyotes howl. The city seems to recede as evening’s calm, cool solitude sets in. Above, shielded a bit from the city’s lights, stars shine a little brighter.
My two adult sons, who have the knees of young men, have their own parks. In fact, they have many parks. They run through our city over streets and through the parks, often before the sun is up. They see the variety, the availability. They might tell me that my park is not unique and that there are parks like mine all over Arlington. They probably would be right.
I know there are bigger and more developed parks in Arlington- parks with pavilions, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools and water features, softball diamonds, rec centers, and ponds. There are parks with statues, parks with education programs, parks showcasing gardening. Those parks are special too. I enjoy them whenever I can. But, those parks are not my park. My park and I have a history. It calms me when I need it. It gives me exercise. It keeps me healthy. My park does not know how old I am, whether I am rich or poor, what my politics are. It welcomes me as I am, whenever I arrive.
The City of Arlington’s website lists over 80 city parks, ranging from the 1,031 acres of River Legacy to pocket parks across the city. Which one is your park?
Paul J. Johnson (email@example.com) is a Real Estate, Business and Litigation attorney at Harris Cook and is a guest writer for Arlington Today.