Sunday in the Park
June 8, 2012
I always want time to suspend in June. After a winter of living behind garage doors, cars linger in the driveways and folks appear on porches long covered in snow. The temperate weather in quiet neighborhoods like ours invites conversations in the yard, but also in the street, as a car stops for the driver to talk to first one neighbor, who is joined by another, and an impromptu state of the ‘hood takes place. This includes kids and dogs and bicycles and hand-holding older couples strolling past. It is as if some Norman Rockwell still-life picture has come to life.
Recent conversations caught us up on new occupants for the empty house, the new fire pit in the center grassy island of the cul-de-sac, and the fate of the pine tree with the rusty looking needles. (Strangely, the tree doctor said it was suffering from drought from the mild winter.) The warm spring this year has invited the foolhardy and the newest to town to plant annuals, already. We, more seasoned folks, know Father’s Day is the safest time in Park City to put annuals into the ground.
Colorful umbrellas have popped up like tulips in backyards and pots of all shapes are re-emerging, awaiting plants. The first round of flowers, the daffodils and crocuses and hyacinths, have come and gone. Vines are starting to curl and climb. And the wildlife in the hood is crazy busy.
We have all spotted the wild rabbit a slightly oversized version of somebody’s bunny. The fox has been seen mostly at night. The deer are less interested in the birdseed and seem to have gone off to the hills. But the birdlife is crazy busy. Mountain bluebirds and flickers and goldfinches and red-winged blackbirds attack the multiple feeders containing different seed. The hummingbirds have already hit the (red) juice and other tiny birds sparrows or chickadees gather in groups to dine all day long.
The ducks that come back to my yard are an amusement each year. There is no water anywhere near us in this part of Park Meadows. We are nearly two blocks from the pond at the golf course, and another two from McLeod Creek. Still, each spring for the past four years, a pair of ducks spends part of spring vacation waddling around my yard to the amusement of all.
The trees have leafed out fully and the flowering ones are just about done with their show. The lilac bushes are just starting to display their clusters of purples and pinks and even white blossoms.
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Growing up in California, I had no appreciation of seasons. It was sunny or it rained and occasionally there was fog. There were flowers year-round. A certain sameness to the people that seemed to match the temperature.
In the mountains, we are hardy folk, regardless of age or gender or nationality. In Park City, we understand the winters are long and cold and dark. And joyful! Bluebird power days and testing survival skills driving in blizzards or just taking the dog out. You reach this time of year with a bit of pride, a sense of victory over the elements.
And you find/make time again for friends that you may have shared a fire with or a wintry walk. Now you can sit outdoors at a cafe on Main Street and let the meal stretch out into hours of thoughtful conversation. Your encounters at the Post Office aren’t rushed to get back into the warm car. The sidewalk seems like the perfect place to learn about someone’s recent travels or chew on local politics. You notice that an older friend, who is without a fat parka this time, has become a bit more fragile over this past winter. You let go and a wave of tenderness sweeps over you both. There is no need for additional words.
There are books to be read stacks of them drapes to be taken down and screens to put up. It is the seasonal business of life in the mountains. There are already weeds to pull and bushes that need trimming. The chores have changed and the tools have changed and length of time you want to spend outdoors doing them has expanded. In the winter is all about a head down/shovel up kind of efficiency. In June no one rushes through planting the annuals. You linger and pat the ground again around your planting. And if a neighbor or a dog or a child wanders into your path, all the better.
You are surprised how many days end with you actually seeing the sun set. And how many nights you see the moon rise. You know, soon enough, it will be the longest day and the shortest night and, as counterintuitive as seems, you will be having the barbecues and sitting out the hillside with your picnic with one eye on the annual clock marching back to winter.
But in early June, in some years, like this one, you can celebrate this season of renewal by actually spending time outside late into the extended day as it fades to twilight. And you look around and see new life and you sigh, unexpectedly, at your good fortune to be here another year. It isn’t a noisy exclamation but quiet affirmation of blessings you embrace this Sunday in the Park …
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the organization that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.