Teri Orr: Starting the summer with love
Sunday in the Park
Park Record columnist
Summer tip-toed into Park City ahead of schedule in a long, lazy way. Three days instead of two to enjoy the warmer-not-yet-fully-warm days. Drag out the wicker and wooden furniture and enjoy the last of the hot pink crabapple blossoms before they fall off the trees. After months of studied hibernation, neighbors emerged ready to engage in conversations and laughter.
For weeks I had been keeping a secret that this weekend would be filled with a surprise engagement for a young friend of mine, whose mother and I have traveled various parts of the world together. The family has a second home here and have been skiing and hiking around Park City for more than 15 years. They gather, here, for most holidays and whenever they can from their anchor in San Diego. Kelsy’s soon-to-be-fiancé, Jeremy, wanted to propose to her here, with his parents and grandmother and her parents and grandparents all on hand as part of the surprise.
And Jeremy managed just that. At the end of their hike, where he had already proposed (she said, ‘Yes’) they arrived at the White Barn. They turned a corner and all the family members, siblings too, surprised Kelsy.
There is a video of the moment where the bride-to-be bursts into happy tears. The next night we gathered on the deck of the St. Regis — family members from Manhattan and D.C. and Connecticut and some of the family’s Park City friends. Warm weather and longer days allowed us time enough to celebrate the couple and listen to their dreams for a life ahead that just might include moving to Park City. To have a pair of incredibly kind, incredibly talented, 20-something humans move here would raise the city vibrational level instantly.
On still another night, back in my little corner of my Park Meadows cul-du-sac world, came a text with two trigger words: firepit/wine. I recognized the neighborhood Bat Signal. Within an hour there were a clan of sweat-shirted folks sitting around a pit and sharing stories, while kids on bikes and in red wagons and on hover boards circled us. There was laughter, much laughter from every age represented, which was preschool to, well, me. And after the sun set and cool came and it was time for kids to be in bed, we parted ways. As I wandered over to my corner of my yard to sit just a few more minutes outside and watch the night sky, I remembered to count myself blessed.
Because the weekend had also included a lovely lunch with my daughter in Salt Lake before we watched some visiting ballet companies we had wanted to see for years. We work together and when we get together, apart from work, it is largely with other family members and agendas that don’t allow for many conversations that can wander. And although it was a bit of a busman’s holiday to see a live performance in a theater also named Eccles, we hardly talked about work at all.
And on Monday, actual holiday, my son and his wife and his youngest teenager came up for a long, lazy afternoon. We ate on the deck at Deer Valley Café, where we have gone long before it was called that. And even though the boy will turn 13 next month, he wanted to go down to the little pond and feed the ducks. So we sat on the grass in the warmest sun yet and listened to the ducks splash land. And I got to listen to my son and his wife share a bit about their work lives and travel plans and the conversations we have too rarely about feelings.
Back at the house, I showed the parents where the newest magazines were and they found their way out back to the picnic table under the umbrella for chill time of their own. The boy and I spent over an hour carefully replacing and filling the bird feeders that had been neglected for months. And we had small conversations about nature, which allowed me some quiet time to nurture. I had hoped the resident neighborhood bunny would appear but he was most likely in the shade waiting to appear later in his nearly nightly visit to my front lawn.
When I did head back to work the next day and the work part ended, I still needed outside time. I wandered from my home down past Kid’s Creek and walked the path with the creek as high as I’ve seen it in years and shaped a bit differently. The beavers appear to have engineered a bit of redesign.
And last night, I was visiting with part-time residents and full-time friends who have a stunning home, high on a hill with spectacular views, overlooking the Synderville Basin and unobstructed views to a ring of not-so distant mountains. We sat on the porch and watched the clouds gather, the winds sweep in and listened to the thunder clap and watched the lightning crack. The rain eventually drove us inside to finish a wandering conversation of families and health and how our politics can seem separate at times but turn out to be born of passions for justice — two heads of the same coin — which looks like love of country on both sides.
It has been the sweetest of weeks. Reminders of all kinds of love that lives here most days, especially Sundays in the Park…
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
“Even the dogs were celebrating the reemergence of the sun.”