Escape

wash park sunset

I have lived almost seven years just one-half mile from Wash Park. This is the longest I have lived in any single house since I was 13. And I feel very lucky. Wash Park is a respite in the middle of a traffic-jammed, chaotic city. I have been to Wash Park almost every day since I moved here and often I go there more than once. I have walked in Wash Park in the heat of August and cross-country skied when it was below zero. I have run on the paths, the roads, and the tennis courts. I have paddled on the lake and swum in the pool. I have walked with my dog, walked without her in mourning after she died, and walked again with a new rescue with the same markings. I have “hiked” with a loaded back pack to train to come up from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and been offered a granola bar. I have taken to wheels, ridden my bike, roller-bladed and long boarded the park’s roads. I have gawked at the flowers and stood in awe of the trees, some of which I have climbed. I have gasped at the sunrise lighting the snowy mountains on fire over the south lake on Sunday mornings, and taken pictures of sunsets over the foothills beyond the north lake in late fall. This park has been my salve in a city where wounds abound. The police are mean; the jailers worse. The freeway is relentlessly loud and the trains even louder. Wonderful old houses in our neighborhood are scraped and replaced with ugly boxes selling for outlandish prices, even for half a box. Sometimes things look grim. But Wash Park is always there. On a snowy cold morning, it is monochromatic and silent, showing the subtle shades of gray that calm the soul. On a summer day, it is dancing with the life of flowers in pinks and yellows, oranges and purples, reds and yellows. In the fall, the brilliance of the leaves, painted by the shorter days and cooler temperatures, dazzle even the most focused athlete preparing for competition. And when spring comes, the sharp, new greens remind you to cherish the longer days. Wash Park never disappoints, never lets you down. Sure, on a warm weekend afternoon, it can seem too crowded for those of us who are spoiled by the deep, dark winter visits when we can find solitude in the midst of the busy city. But the majesty of the park never fails if you are open to her lure.

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