summer evening in washington park

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the heat was intense yesterday. when we get in the 90s here in the northeast, it’s sticky misery. one saving grace was a decent breeze, but other than that: stifling. after taking the boys to the movies (“free” AC, baby!) and ordering take-out (stand at the stove? no, thanks!), the sun was starting to disappear and the light was gorgeous over washington park as the sun was setting making temps a little more tolerable.

the boys love walking in the park. even though they are country boys and boys who’ve explored their mama’s stompin’ grounds in the maine woods, they still love downtown albany’s washington park. it’s their front yard when they’re with me, and they love knowing they can walk on the roads in the park without worrying about cars. one of the fascinating things about city parks is that they’re always changing. there are always new plantings. there are always different people. one festival is setting up. another is tearing down. we sled in the park in winter. we keep tabs on tulips and play catch in the spring.

this is our first real summer here. i moved to the neighborhood in august, and we were all in shock, i think. we were so focused on what was going on inside our little family and how mommy’s tiny apartment was different than daddy’s house that we didn’t do much by way of enjoying our surroundings. but we’re part of this neighborhood now. and last night on our the-heat’s-not-so-bad-now-let’s-get-outside-for-today’s-last-light walk, we saw the park playhouse crew getting the stage ready for the season’s first performance.

it’s been years since i’ve gone to a play in washington park. my ex and i lived a couple blocks from my current apartment while he was in school (1994-97 or so), and the playhouse in summer was one of our favorite dates. pack a picnic. grab some blankets. set up in the ampitheater and watch the space fill up. enjoy one heck of a show and walk home while everyone else dealt with traffic. we were married in 1995, and so it was one of our beginnings as a couple. our oldest son wasn’t born until 1999, and so it was also a time of freedom.

i am looking forward to seeing this summer’s shows on my own and with friends and with the boys. they’ll love it. i’ll be sure to tell them the good times me and their dad had there. i don’t get nostalgic over those times in the sense that i want them back, but i have found myself re-tracing our steps to see if i can figure out when we first started getting it wrong. it’s a foolish exercise. we all know that. however, it seems to wiggle its way into my psyche here and there.

mostly, i try to focus on what i’m getting right since the separation. and one of those things is letting the boys get familiar enough with the park that it’s as much *their* park as it is anyone else’s. and live musical theatre in *their* park, just steps from *their* front door? hell yeah!!


  1. One thing a writer should never say, but after reading this I must: I wish I could write like you — a tender, relaxed thoughtful piece, eloquent in its simplicity — keep at it.

    1. thanks, dan. i felt guilty writing/posting because i didn’t have a purpose in writing it or a point to make. but it was a beautiful evening in the park & i wanted to share it. trying to learn (in life) that that’s enough. 🙂

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