By Marion Brody Kelly

Gateway Commons took me by surprise.  A few friends hadn’t wanted to join us there after finding it on the map.  Driving to meet a more courageous friend, I passed a Bojangles and an ABC store on Northwest Boulevard and wondered what kind of path would be hidden in such an urban area as this.

Photo by Virginia Weiler

A very pretty one, as it turned out.  We parked in the lot and experienced that now familiar unfamiliarity of a new greenway:  Where are we?  A beautiful section of new homes runs along a dense but tidy slice of forested creek bank.  This might be the most carefully kept park we’ve visited.  Benches, picnic tables and grills cluster along the path, and a new wooden bridge crosses the creek towards a children’s play area. What a great place for a block party. 

Two city workers trimmed and cleaned the little stretch of wilderness, stopping to explain the layout.  Peters Creek shows its charms here as it splashes over rocks and roots.  Black-eyed Susans lean out towards the sun from the shade of mimosa trees with their Dr. Seuss blossoms.  The small space concentrated the songs and announcements of birds and insects around us.  Look one way, and we were in the forest.  Look the other, and we were in the suburbs.

Jake and Sammy, now semipro swimmers, expected a dunking here, and we will return to try out the waters.  Right now, our focus remains on behavior.  By the time we turned back to the cars, they had almost stopped sled dog practice.  I could feel my arms resettling in their sockets.  I am wondering now if I fictionalized our early walks, or if I was so excited that I was pulling, too.

We’ll definitely be back.  It’s close to home for us, and a beautiful, short walk.

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