Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since my ‘office’ is right out in the street where you may live). No – the morning of my last visit to Robinson Park in Northeast Leesburg, the conditions were memorably cool, cloudy, and even a little windy. The day hadn’t really gotten started yet (you would’ve been hard-pressed to say just exactly where the sun was – somewhere behind all those greyish masses marching across a dark sky), and I recall moving with a definite purpose of generating a little personal warmth out of the situation. Now, all this may serve as evidence to keep most of us safe at home under similar weather; for me – I’ve long preferred the sort of day that comes right up and introduces itself (even working outside – as long as I survive the experience, I look back at elemental inclemency as at least stimulating – if not always ‘fun’ at the time).
Now – a walk around Robinson Park isn’t exactly a remote, wilderness excursion, is it? The small, scattered stands of trees and the culverted little part-time brook serve as about the only outstanding natural features, with the ballfields and manicured grass looking pretty tame; so, a little challenge from the climactic conditions came as a welcome distraction from the surrounding domesticity.
But I was still outside, after all – exposed to whatever the skies chose to throw my way. So, the antemeridian perambulation left its indelible mark on me: Literally – I had goosebumps and raised hairs from the low temperatures, and figuratively – my sense memory being more accurate than that of the mere intellect – I can still ‘feel’ my way back there in time and enjoy it all over again– like, right now. And, if the human race retains any of the herd and flock instincts of the ‘lower’ creatures (Ever wonder how a swarm of blackbirds can all change direction in the same instant?) you can get an inkling of the experience for yourself. And, I just may possess a better mental picture of Robinson Park’s 10 acres, athletic fields, walking trail, gentle sloping hill, picnic tables, nearby Leesburg Elementary School and surrounding Exeter neighborhood because of Mother Nature’s participation in the event.
And – who knows? Maybe next time it’ll even be raining; one can only hope. So, if you should see a strange character out there walking the perimeter some early – wet – possibly cold – morning, it could be yours truly – out for a stroll when any ‘sensible person’ would be safely tucked in at home. Not that I would disagree – much of the time – with those instincts, but I really do feel like that local walking path makes up a portion of what I consider my enlarged ‘home.’ OK, Robinson stands a bit more out of the way for me than Brandon Park or Olde Izaak Walton – and it’s certainly far under the radar of the more popular Ida Lee – but I will keep it filed away under my list of places to stop and enjoy the atmospheric rewards of whatever moments find me in that part of town. And if it’s inclement enough, I may even leave my electronic device in the car – truly ‘roughing it,’ as Mark Twain might have said. And, as I pull my hat brim down a bit to shield my face from whatever’s falling from the clouds, I just may be thinking, “My, what a nice day!”
I’d like to think that the perfect Robinson Park experience still lies out there – somewhere – in my future; the same holds true for the rest of my favored – and, even undiscovered – local places. The dawn is on the horizon; we may as well strap on our boots and go out to greet it.
Aren’t you gonna come? We’re just about there, now…