I’m not someone you would call outdoorsy, not by a long shot, but I do like to play outside. I like to walk my dog and ride my bike and roller blade (with protective gear covering most of my accident-prone self) and sit on my porch swing and daydream in my hammock, and all of those activities generally happen outside. But the weather really dictates whether it’s a fun time. I don’t like heat and I really, really hate humidity. Humidity is my kryptonite. (Spellcheck doesn’t know “kryptonite”. WTAF?) And we have had an oppressively hot summer, and it has totally ruined my outdoor playtime. Until last week, when Mother Nature took pity on me.
[Side note: I know some people love hot weather. There’s no need for you to argue with me about it. It’s just like being a morning versus a night person; neither is wrong. Although I could argue that when it’s cold you can always put on another blanket, but when it’s too hot you can’t take anything else off. I break into a sweat when the snow melts. I blame my dad. He is nodding along as he’s reading this, whereas my mother is putting on a sweater.]
Anyway, as I was saying, Mother Nature finally gave us a break. The last week or so has been freakin’ beautiful. Cooler. Comfortable. Some days, we’ve even had low humidity. I’ve had my air conditioning off for over a week now. In AUGUST. It’s fabulous.
Friday I played a little hooky and went to revel in the glorious morning by taking a walk around Foster Park. I’ve been hiding out for months in climate-controlled comfort and had almost forgotten how much I love it there; it might be my favorite place in Fort Wayne.
It could be a country club, with its manicured golf course and impeccable, gorgeous flowerbeds, but instead it’s a public park, smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s vast. The golf course is surrounded by a 2.2-mile loop. There are playgrounds. Baseball diamonds. Tennis courts. Trails along the river. The bridal glen, where my aunt and uncle (and lots of other people, I presume) got married. It connects to (and is part of) the River Greenway. There are pavilions for rent. There’s Pawster Park, for our canine companions. And it’s all thanks to the Fosters.
My dad comments from time to time about the foresight the Foster families had to preserve this kind of green space in a growing urban environment. A hundred years ago they donated over one hundred acres. (It’s even bigger thanks to additional purchases by the City.) That’s pretty badass, to make a gift of that magnitude. Imagine if someone did something like that today (ahem, Omnisource property, cough cough).
The park is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the community. It’s also one of the friendliest. During my loop last week almost every person I passed waved, smiled, nodded, said “hi” or “good morning” or “how’s it going”, despite my sunglasses and headphones. (Those are universal shields, right?) I love it. Love. It. On a nice weekend in the summer, it’s teeming with people. In the winter there are far fewer, but the camaraderie might be even stronger; it’s like a small band of winter weather warriors, united in our quest to circle the park even when it’s frigid.
My affection for Foster Park goes way back. My family cross-country skied there when I was a kid. The circuit is convenient for walking (or running, I assume, but with no bears to chase me there is no need). The wide path with no motor vehicles makes me feel safe on my skates. And as previously mentioned, it’s beautiful. With my last dog, I tried hitting all the parks in the city for our excursions, but Foster was always the best for a good trek (although she loved Franke Park, too). When I was looking for my house a few years ago, I limited my search to the south side because I’ve always wanted to live near the park. So it was a joy to rediscover my joy when the heat finally broke, and a reminder to take advantage of it more often.
Good news: the forecast this week is for mostly sunny, mild temps, with a high probability of walks in the park.