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Sunday in the Park

For many months of the year here we are housebound creatures, especially at night. We burrow in, like abominable snow creatures, when darkness sets and our windows and doors need to be shut tight against the night and the elements.

But right now, somehow all the light makes us lighter. Our workdays end and there are still hours and hours and hours before the sun sets and suggests, after evening has become night, it might be time to come indoors.

I have been soaking up the sun. Not the tanning rays, the way I did as a California beach girl of my youth. No, these are the lesser rays that still warm after five o’clock. These are the hours that stretch out in suspension for long-neglected refueling. Neighborhood porch sitting. Long walks. Bike cruises. Music appreciation. The dishes and laundry stack up, again. Paperwork piles up. The longer days demand not only attention but appreciation.

Last weekend one set of grandkids and their dad came up for visit in the late afternoon. I suggested to my son that he should load the bikes up and maybe we could plan a little adventure.

We drove up to Main Street, unloaded the bikes and parked. Then we set out for the bike path that would eventually take us mostly downhill back to Park Meadows. We stopped at the Shoe Tree, which looks entirely different when viewed from the cool banks of Poison Creek under the shade trees. And seen through the kids’ eyes, it really is pretty funny. Then there was a tunnel with a painting of miners in a mine we stopped and laughed at.

I had forgotten about the Sound Garden, the brainchild of Carol Potter. We stopped again and spent some time banging on wood and metal and creating our own kind of music.

We saddled up again and cruised a bit until we reached the newly named Roger Harlan Skateboard Park, filled with happy kids trying tricks that were "way cool" to the under-ten set. Then City Park playground deserved some inspection. The swings and monkey bars and slides all appear to be in perfect working order. And the camaraderie of parents, even grandparents, and children was immediately intimate.

When it was time to find some dinner we rolled some more and the outdoor setting at Windy Ridge beckoned. After lively conversation and full tummies we wandered over to see the inviting wind-whirly thingies. Then it was back on the bikes for home. Except for crosswalks there weren’t any stops. And not much conversation.

We arrived home happy with sun time left over to explore what plantings were starting to surface in the garden. And enjoy ice-cream sundaes. Even after we retrieved their car and they loaded the bikes back up and headed up down the hill home, I still felt like there was time enough to take the new Ivan Doig book that both my neighbors had read and loaned to me and get right back into how World War II was playing out in northern Montana. With the windows open and doors too, the night air and sounds eventually lulled me into a seamless sleep.

Later in the week, after an especially crabby day where I eventually realized I was The Crab, I decided to venture up to the Silver Star property and see what others had said was a pretty cool vibe on Thursday evenings. I hesitate to write about this because I hate to disturb the balance of cool. But the easy cross-generational music was just right for the cross-generational gathering of kids and dogs and folks sitting around in little conversation groups eating the yummy new fare from Jeff and Lisa Ward and having conversations. I was invited to join a group that, I’m guessing, ranged from four to sixty four, with other ages in between. And a perfect summer evening in a smart multi-use space felt like a refined version of my best memories of what the old concerts in the park used to be like. Only with terrific outdoor furniture and much better food.

I left with plenty of sunlight to water the yard and fill a few bird feeders before I moved on to a beach in Nigeria and a tony neighborhood in London where the story of a woman named Little Bee was taking me away.

I woke to the dawn’s early light and the melody of songbirds in my yard. Grateful for the extended days and warm nights that have a certain rhythm to them, I try to not make too many plans for my evenings. I like being surprised at how they can unfold, any day, like a Sunday in the Park …

Teri Orr is the director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. She is a former editor of The Park Record.


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