Monday, June 23, 2008

Walking the Path: Stanley Park, Westfield

When I was a child...


...there was a grassy hill alongside this park road.


My grandfather used to bring my brothers and I to play there...


...we would roll and jump and play king of the hill, grass staining patched-knee pants.


This nearby fountain was pure magic to a boy who could still believe in such a thing, changing colors - blue red green - as dusk swallowed day.


For the pennies within, I had a standing wish to swim in this fountain...


Instead, I fell headlong into this pond once, in pursuit of a polliwog.


The world was a much bigger place back then.


When I was a teenager...


...I carved the name of my first love inside this covered bridge.


There were benches here then, hidden by green. There were hands to hold and lips to kiss.


After hours, when the park was closed, we would sit quietly inside, backs to the stone wall and watch the stars take over the night.


But I wasn't ready for what she had to give, or what she wanted...


...and I set off on my own.


When I was a young man...


...I took my children to the park to feed the fowl...


...to share the clues left by those who had come before.


I learned to stop and read the plaques along the way...


...and tried to take the long view of things.


But, within, I felt the bell's toll. Began to count the chimes...


Now I am here...


...watching the wheels spin, the water flow...


...grown tired of holding the umbrella against the pelting rain.


For me, there are bridges left to cross...


...stairs still to climb...


...my journey and my destiny best traveled alone.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.




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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I grew up near Stanley Park... what a beautiful tribute you have created. Thank you so very much.....

Anonymous said...

I grew up in WS and Stanley Park was a popular place for my mother to take us (4 little girls) for a picnic lunch. Did the same w/my own children whenever we were back visiting WS. Thank you for a beautiful tribute.

Elizabeth said...

Ah, all those places look so familiar! Thank you for sharing your memories of such a special place.

Robert Genest said...

Cheers, Mark! I lived on Western Ave for a few years then took a job in New York. I certainly missed my little house and the park. I live in South Hadley now and visit the park often. Thanks for the photos!

VanDog said...

Wow! I have the memories of Stanley park as a kid. Your story brought them all back.

Thanks Mark.

Tommy said...

Well done. You were a cute kid, but where did your parents find that suit?

sojourner said...

Beautifully written, Mark! With or without the great pictures, I was right there with you.

Anonymous said...

A rush of tears and memories came to me. Seeing you, Pop and the photos of Stanley Park. I am proud to say I was witness to many parts of the stairs you've ascended.

Thank you for being my brother though so far away in miles, so close in my heart.


Jason

Anonymous said...

Well done brother...Poppie certainly created some great adventures for his grandsons...his machine chopped fingers and bright white flowing hair...Orange Crush and Chips Ahoy...trying to keep some of the change from the little superette...willing oneself not to pull the red cord next to the toilet in his tidy little apartment...his ceramic mallard stands watch on the bookcase shelf...tells me to remember him..."Do you love your Poppie?"
We bring our grandchildren to the park now...new adventures in a less friendly world...thanks Mark

Jimmy