Something there is about an urban gem.
The architectural delight hidden among blight, the greenery ensconced in gray, the unanticipated lung—as it is described in Latin American Spanish—of a green space where one least expects it brings a quiet satisfaction to the attentive city-dweller.
So it is that Holliday Park, an enchanting jewel half-rustic, half-refined, just across the street from my home adds such luster to life’s rhythms. There I run my dogs along well-manicured and forested paths. There on a Sunday afternoon hundreds of city-dwellers speaking various languages congregate for family picnics and church pitch-ins in a bodacious display of urban civility. Multiply hewed children play together without marking their differences on a high-quality playground funded in part by local residents who band together as the Friends of Holliday Park.
Though I have lived here for nearly six years, 2010 marks the first time I have donned running shoes to participate in one of the Park’s truly heart-warming festivals of civility. I’m going to estimate that two thousand suitably-lunged souls of all shapes and sizes gathered for this run. I, waking from my middle-aged winter slumbers, registered early, showing up for the proceedings with the number 13 attached to my chest, assuming that I was about to trot through 5 manageable kilometers. First mistake. Those would be miles, Mister. Oops.
Springtime had not yet smiled upon our merry band of Trail Warriors, though her advance guard had thawed the ground into delightfully sucking mud as we made our way along Indy’s White River.
Then this marvel: at a moment where the course had the elite runners double back and share the trail with us Plodders—though in opposite directions—it was the fast dudes who encouraged us less blurred runners along our way. Does it get any better, these little portraits of humanity, these slices of americana, these Hoosier moments?
We panted, we talked, we acquainted ourselves with the strangers who labored or sprang like gazelles for a moment beside us, we raffled, we admired and petted each others’ dogs.
We were Hoosiers. We were Indy. We were all, for a moment, Friends of Holliday Park.
Indianapolis, this adoptive city o’ mine, may be the most self-deprecating large village north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Yet on this chilling morning, this 20th of March, this muddy Springtime, she was golden.