Veterans Memorial Pointe-Rochester Hills, MI
I can tell school is out, because I don’t have to drive 60mph to pull out of my subdivision only to stop a hundred yards down the street in front of the school. Traffic is light on the way to work. The whole time getting ready this morning I am excited to have lunch at a park I have driven by it, at least, five hundred times; maybe even a thousand. Veterans Memorial Pointe of Rochester Hills, it is close to home and close to work.
Because school is out, I have an extra hour in the morning. Earlier I was thinking of trying to walk around the block, but it’s raining. I don’t have to look outside to hear this; I can hear the wet tires on the interstate amplifying the roar of traffic. Not to mention my hip is barking and nipping at me. I turn on the news and the weather reports states that the rain will move out. I smile, I’ll just wait and walk at the park during my lunch hour.
By the time lunch rolls around the muscle spasms are ‘threatening’ to return. Apparently they are giving the recent cortisone shot a run for its money. That is less than a week of relief for the level of pain and aggravation associated with the shot. This is NOT a good sign. I can’t believe how bad it hurts today. I almost wish I had not taken the shot, sometimes ignorance is helpful pain management. I am left wondering; did it hurt this bad before? It must have, I must have become used to it. My constant companion is pain. It is the uninvited guest who will not leave.
The skies are gray, but I ignore the pain and go anyway because the weather radar seems clear. As I pull up I notice the park is beyond impeccably kept. I suppose I have always known this, but never took the time to take it in. The grass is perfect, the flag display is perfect, the flowers are perfect, and the benches and paths are clean. There isn’t a weed to be found! It looks like a golf course. The flower beds are weeded. It has to be on a daily basis with as clean as they are. I dare a crabgrass seed to take hold in this park. This place must be better kept than the gardens at the Forbidden Palace, but since I haven’t been there, I will be fair and say it is better kept than the gardens at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.
This park is cared for in a different way than the other parks I have visited, and it is immediately apparent. I am tempted to walk over and look at some monuments, but the grass is so well groomed I am afraid to step on it.
If you are unfamiliar with this park, it’s as close to eating lunch in the median of an interstate as one can get without getting into trouble with a state trooper. A four lane and three lane intersection cross each other on two sides of this tiny park. But that doesn’t matter here. Here it’s an oasis and feels safe like it’s a million miles away from the traffic.
The section of the Clinton River that runs between the park and the intersection is deeper and much faster than at River Woods Park. A local canoeing website warns that when heavy rains fall rapids can form, and can reach a class three status (I do not understand what that is? I can hardly walk, let alone shoot the rapids; so I invite you to comment on this in the comments section if you like.) I assume it means the river will eat you alive if you were to accidentally fall in it after a rain storm. Right now the river is ‘behaving’ as it gently skirts the edge of the park. There are no ducks here, but the birds are out singing, and can be heard over the heavy traffic. To the rear of the park is a short section of the Clinton River Trail. As with the rest of the park, this section of the trail is meticulously cared for. Someone is missed, and the re-connection is made here.
A large gazebo at the back of the park overlooks a wooded wetland area. It smells damp here. As you walk through to the other side of the park a little bridge crosses a tiny little creek. If my hip functioned properly I would be tempted to hop over it, but not today, today I choose the bridge, holding tight to the railing.
An obelisk stands in memorial to our local lost veterans. Memorial Bricks reflect the names of those who have donated to the park or wish to have a loved one remembered. Since it’s a small park, I finish walking early and sit on a bench overlooking the river. It was placed there in memory of Sgt. Kyle McClain, who was killed in Afghanistan on August 1, 2012.
As I write this information down in my notebook, I feel a single drop of rain hit the top of my head, then one on the notebook, so I scratch down my observations as quickly as I can. By the time, I hobble, as fast as my hip will allow, back to my car I am a soaked mess! But, I am not perturbed. The warm wet pavement smells good, refreshing, like the cursed winter we just experienced is finally over. By the time I get back to work I am still soaked. I look in the mirror and smile. I am a hot mess. The first question out everyone’s mouth is ‘why are you wet?”
I smile as I realize why it rained on me despite the clear weather radar I saw prior to leaving for the park. I explain where I was and what I was doing, and for a minute, veterans are remembered for the sacrifice they made; just as the park was meant to do.
I return after work to take the pictures. Madonna’s Like a Prayer is playing on the radio as I park. Funny, this is her hometown, not far from where she went to school, and that song’s lyrics “When you call my name it’s like a little prayer” is again magnifying the meaning of the park to remember certain things.
I am enjoying my second walk and taking the photos, for a place that reminds me of the median of a busy interstate there is a lot of nature here, and a lot of comfort to be found in it. Because of my ‘median’ description I have included extra photos (10-12) instead of my 4-6 on my Pinterest account. I really want to show how much nature and conservation can be enjoyed right in the heart of an intersection.
My hip is feeling better this afternoon; the pain of the morning is now a memory until the next time it rains.