There’s no place in Calgary like Riley Park. It’s where I used to play as a kid. It’s where I grew from a child, to a teenager. Although the park is a little different now than it used to be, it’s still filled with memories at every turn.
Spring and summer bring the park to life; green grass, a playground full of noisy children and 50+ year old trees show us the best part of nature.
My granddaughter and I went to the park last week. We ended up playing a camera game she came up with…take as many photos as you can in a specified time period. She literally had me running from place to place!
She’s an active girl – it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up.
The cricket pitch was a great spot to throw down a few cartwheels. I first saw cricket being played as a kid. We’d stand in the park watching two teams play. The rules then and now are still a big, giant mystery to me. Players running the length of the pitch, hitting a small ball with a large wooden bat. So very strange.
We both sat in the parks’ massive trees. While dangling down our legs, it occurred to me that I had likely sat in that exact spot 54 years ago, when I was ten years old. It’s humbling.
No water is in the wading pool yet…I’m not sure if the pool will be open this summer or not. It’s configuration changed over the years. It’s gone from being a giant, cement rectangle with a rough, uneven bottom to a children’s wading pool with water fountains and a bright teal smooth bottom. Just like the colour teal in my quilt, Carina.
Although my granddaughter and I did not visit the Rock Garden this time, we’ve been there before.
When we were ready to head home, a woman arrived at the park, with her kite in hand.
Try as she may, and it was a very windy day, she couldn’t get the kite to stay up in the air. Some city workers in orange vests came by and tried to be of assistance. They couldn’t get it to fly either.
My view from the bench in Riley Park brings me full circle. I remember myself cutting through the park with Marilyn Black (Chalmers) on our way to Hillhurst School. I remember also that we were not supposed to cut through the park; we were supposed to go the “long way”, on Fifth Avenue to 12th Street N.W. I remember playing with my brothers in the pool in the summers. I remember my Dad bringing us there to play baseball. Then I see my beautiful, precious granddaughter cartwheeling down the cricket pitch and I can’t help but feel amazing joy and gratitude. Not everyone gets to literally “go back in time”. I see myself as a ten year old in that child, so open and loving and unaffected…just looking for the next adventure around the corner.
It’s like a small piece of “perfect” in a world filled with chaos.