A place that I have strong associations with is Byrd Park, located in my hometown, Richmond, Virginia. It’s a place where I’ve made good memories throughout the course of my life and will continue to do so. The park is just a few minutes away from my house, so it almost feels like it’s apart of my house. It is central to my life in Richmond: it’s a couple of minutes up the street from my great-grandmother’s house, close to my elementary, middle, and high school, and it’s up the street from my past job at Kroger. Sometimes the proximity of a place to your life is all that is needed to make a place important.
Byrd Park has two big, circular ponds across from each other. Although both are scenic, they both serve two different purposes. One pond, the smaller one, about the size of a high school track, is more activity-centered. Each spring and summer, they have paddle boats, free to use, all different colors. In the center of the pond is a big fountain that often changes color at night with LED lights instilled in the bottom of the fountain. People also occasionally fish from the shore.
The other pond is twice the size of the first, and is home to all the geese and ducks that are hard to miss whenever you visit Byrd Park. In the middle of the pond is a large piece of land full of tall thin trees where the birds live. This pond is more quiet and where you’ll find most people having picnics, relaxing, feeding the ducks, jogging, etc. The pond is in the middle of a large chunk of land with hills. Since this pond features a prettier, peaceful landscape, as a teenager I came to favor this one more. The other is just surrounded by concrete sidewalks.
As a child I remember going to Byrd Park to feed the ducks a loaf a bread with my family and friends or going to ride on the paddleboats. There were times where I’d just go to enjoy the weather and walk around. As I got a bit older, I would go jogging and work out with my mother at this track that’s right behind the pond. The park is an essential place in Richmond where people would often hold events of their own such as family reunions, birthday parties, cookouts, etc. There would be an annual family reunion that I would go to with my family as a child every year.
As a teenager I would often go to Byrd Park with a few friends, grab some food, and just relax and enjoy the weather. The park was always a staple among me and my friends whenever we wanted to hang out after school, have cookouts, bring stereos, water balloons, etc,, and just have fun. We would always rely on the park to be a place to get together.
Since I found the park to be a relaxing and peaceful place to go over the years, I would often go get food and sit in the car and listen to music on my lunch break while I was working at Kroger since it was in such a close proximity. Anyone can agree there would be times where you get annoyed on the job and I found Byrd park to be my relief at times.
The proximity of Byrd Park to my life is all that is needed to make it important. By seeing the park every time I was on my way home or on my way to my great grandmother’s house to visit her and the rest of my family or just by having it always be there as a place to have fun, enjoy the weather, relax, or just to look for some sort of peace really made the park an important place in my life. I believe parks are important to all because it’s a place where most come together as a unit and spend quality time with one another and it’s a place where an individual can often find peace.