Washington Park, make way for ducklings!
Now that the tulips are past their prime, and the hoards of people are out of the park for the most part, the mother animals have deemed it time to let their babies explore their new home. Yesterday in the park I saw a proud mother mallard with eight perfectly adorable chicks. It made me think back to an author’s study I had to do for school on Robert McCloskey. His children’s book Make Way For Ducklings was published in 1941 and won a Caldecott award for fantastic illustrations. He studied the ducklings at the pond in the Boston Commons Park. He had ducklings in his studio and would study their movements so he could draw them best. You can find the book at the library, hear an audio version on you-tube for free, or buy it at most bookstores. This is a great book to read with children before or after visiting ducks, and it’s a nice read for adults for fun as well. McCloskey is the author and illustrator of many other phenomenal children’s books such as Lentil, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Time of Wonder. I’m a fan if you couldn’t tell.
In the park, I also saw a baby chipmunk wander a bit too far, then run back to its anxiously awaiting mother. You can hear the baby birds crying for worms in the trees, spring is truly at its peak. I love Washington Park throughout the seasons, for so many reasons. Of course in the spring I love all of the flowers, not just the tulips, but also the lilacs and assortment of flowering trees.
In the summer I love picnicking here with friends, babies, and puppies. Reading, blowing bubbles, tanning, playing Frisbee, and drinking an iced coffee. I especially love catching a sunset, seeing turtles, and spotting the monster carp that looms in the lake.
In fall it is a place close to home to watch the leaves change yet again, and maybe catch a great park festival such as Harvest Fest (tulip fest isn’t the only one!), and watch some live music and support local vendors.
In winter it is a place to get some fresh air and see the magical holiday lights.
Through college classes and general interest, I have learned a bit of history on the United States green spaces. Frederick Olmstead was the great American landscape architect. He has designed parks all over the country, most notably NYC’s Central Park, but a bit closer to home Washington Park and Saratoga’s Congress Park. It is so essential for people to have access to green spaces, and our government knows this, it is a way to get back to nature in a very unnatural world. Living in the city, I am beyond thankful to have this beautiful park to call my backyard, I would go mad without it! One must unplug from technology and open their senses to the natural world, get fresh air and exercise, and make use of this lovely gift of a park.
You never know what you’re going to see in Washington Park, so get out there no matter what the season!