Close the car door, check the time – a couple of hours before I had to be somewhere – and look up to see that row of trees I know so well. It’s been a while. And yet, that sense of familiarity that borders on vivid nostalgia did something for me, like coming home after a long time. That sort of light feeling that you get from knowing that a little bit of the load doesn’t matter so much anymore.

It’s a noisier trail than most. Joggers, kids, bikers, pets – on a nice day, there’s a fair bit of foot traffic. Perhaps that’s what comes from being in one of the city parks. Off in the distance, you can hear the highway traffic. As with anything, it just becomes part of the landscape, and I don’t notice it much anymore.

Soon enough, I’m greeted by the host of resident ducks, many of them paired off, waddling around in groups of four, six, eight, a dozen, or more. There were more and more of them as I rounded each bend, nearing the pond that was central to this park. Ah, the pond, the place to stop, to take a photo, to see the sun glittering off the water, perhaps even have a picnic. As I pass it, I start looking off to the right, into the woods. All sorts of trails go round the pond, but this was my favourite. It’s not well traveled; it’s a little past the pond, the main attraction.

A little patch amidst the brush, maybe eighteen inches wide, surfaces as I walk along. Looking down the embankment, I could see the trail – a little muddy, not particularly wide, but obviously a footpath, doubles back toward the pond. My memory had served me right. There it was, the trail, the spot that would become a long puddle to dart around after a rain, the opening through the woods to the little clearing at the far edge of the pond where the trail turned to grass.

A little further stood the spot right by the water where my bench used to be. I loved sitting there. Up to my right, during the fall when the colors changed, the sun would shine off the reds, the oranges, the yellows on the trees going up the embankment toward the highway. Ahead of me, the sparkling pond shone and ducks would be right at home in their natural habitat. There wasn’t much traffic at this particular spot, so it was the perfect place for me, the introvert to think, pray, read, write, recharge. The bench isn’t there anymore, but the memories are.

The path winds around the pond. There’s a picnic table on the other side, which afforded me the opportunity to stop, take in the cool breeze, and find entertainment in the ducks, frolicking in the water. It’s amazing – God created them, and they can just go along with their business as usual.

In that moment, I am thankful. For that place. For that city. For the memories forged there. And to the God who created it all.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

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