A Swing by Neenah
Running, biking, skating, walking, learning, thinking, exploring, imagining; these are universal activities. Neenah, Wisconsin, is home to a wide variety of parks and walking trails, but it is important to also discuss the trails right outside your front door, also known as your neighborhood.
My neighborhood is fortunate enough to host a small park, Franzoi Park, the park includes: two play sets, a sand volleyball pit, an open grass field, and a small baseball field. The path I most often take leads me from my house to the park. On the way to Franzoi Park I find myself enjoying the endless laughter provided by the smaller children in the subdivision. I watch as they run around each other’s backyard, dripping their melted popsicles everywhere, and throwing a ball in crazy directions trying to catch it. However, this is just the beginning of my little adventure to the park.
Stepping out my front door, I swing a right onto Sundial Lane. This is a rather interesting road because I am always hearing or seeing more dogs than people. Dogs are far more intelligent than I ever had thought and I enjoy listening to their barking as it allows my imagination to wonder of their secret language. As I approach the minor intersection, I take a left onto Birch Bark Road. This road goes uphill on the walk to the park and more often than not, I notice several people running, walking, or biking. For these people it is apparent they move with fitness as their purpose, not necessarily simple pleasure. Generally, I don’t walk or bike for fitness; to me these things are a pleasure and relaxed activity. However, I will run on occasion as it is something I find healthy and enjoyable. Turning right onto Terra Cotta Drive, I am in awe of the mammoth houses and elegant landscaping. Frequently, I will see what I assume to be father and son working on their house in some manner, whether it be installing new gutters, planting a tree, or cleaning the car. I always smile and wave as I walk past because I think to my future. I think about my future family and the adventures we will share. This is a happy thought, but also a scary one. I don’t know what the future holds, but I can only look to God and trust His plans will prevail. The road goes on for a while, but as I reach the near end more children become visible. In previous walks I have seen the kids selling lemonade, running through the woods, or helping a parent in the gardens. I look up to the clouds and think about when I used to try to make out their shapes. Tapping into a memory of my cousins selling lemonade and cookies at the end of their driveway, I close my eyes and breathe in the crisp air. As I reopen them I look up to notice the stop sign signaling my turn left onto Radcliff.
I am almost to the park and as I turn I can already hear the gleeful cries of kids playing on the slides and running the baseball diamond. Walking a bit further down the road the park is to the left; I go to my regular destination, the swings. There is no better play equipment than the swings regardless of age; on the swings it is easy to feel freedom as you soar through the air. A feeling of remembrance will wash over me as I think about the swings at my old home, about jumping off of them, and laughing uncontrollably at the endless humor my friends held. I have walked to this park many different times with many different people. The frequency has not affected the mesmerizing effects the walk has on me, I always return home in a blissful mood, and my brain at ease. My old home has parks, but not like the ones here in Neenah. The parks here portray a strong sense of community and encouragement, whereas my previous home’s parks held a non-interactive, non-friendly environment. Most of my free time is given to the various Neenah parks and walking trails as they provide me a calm in the storm of life. As a newer member to the city, I would highly recommend anyone take a walk to enjoy the beauty of the city I now proudly call home.
Article by NHS Arete Student Elizabeth Gartland