A to Z Challenge #16 — Parks

Apparently it is National Park Week, April 16-24. Thank you Girl Scouts Instagram account for letting me know that in time to share it with the parenting magazine followers.

I’m not super outdoorsy but I do enjoy a good park when I’m in the right mood. This might not be something that came naturally (ha) to me so much as something I picked up from my family. My brother, two of my uncles, and three of my cousins are Eagle Scouts, and I myself was a Girl Scout until middle school when it got to cliquey for my taste. As a kid we went camping at least once in every family road trip, and I was dragged along on my brother’s Cub Scout camp outs because my mom was a Den Mother. One of my uncles lives in Montana and is a retired forest ranger who owns horses and goes in kayaking trips with his wife in their spare time. His sons, both Eagles and both in Montana as well, are a large animal vet and a forest fire fighter. My dad’s most recent birthday was celebrated in a national park so he could get his official senior’s pass.

We are an outdoorsy family. I tried to be like that for a long time, tried to be more of a tomboy, but that’s just because I’ve never been all that femme either. Now that I’m older and a lot more comfortable with being the black sheep of the family, I’ve shed some of the stress I’ve carried around since my childhood.

Because my partner and I now have our own place, I haven’t been in a park since spontaneously taking a solo hike the day before Christmas Eve. It was nice. More often, though, I have frequented dog parks or interestingly overgrown parts of town where we can walk our six year old chocolate lab puppy.

I like walks. I like taking the time, occasionally, to go somewhere completely on my own power and feel the wind in my hair. (We live in a fairly windy part of California.) I like the smell after it rains, whether it’s concrete or mossy earth. Walks are positive, grounding things for me, whether I take them alone or with company, in ambient noise or listening to an audiobook. I don’t need a park, but I do appreciate them. Maybe I’ll visit one this week, make a day of it – but if I don’t, that’s fine by me too.