The temperature is 71 degrees outside right now. One of those to-die-for fall days, a blue sky with cloud puffs balanced on a bowl of Trix-colored trees – raspberry red, lemon yellow, and orange orange.
I’m lucky. I have a window in my Herrity building office. It overlooks a patch of trees that sits between the Fairfax County Government Center and the Fairfax Corner shopping center. Probably doesn’t sound very exciting to a naturalist or volunteer who spends time at a place like Burke Lake or Huntley Meadows, but that patch of trees is important to me. There are times when it’s mine, and just mine. Nobody else around it.
I do a lot of writing, and those trees are often my inspiration, something to look at when I need to clear my mind. Often I look at them and words start bouncing through my keyboard. Like now.
I’m in my office, writing. One year ago, on a similar day, I wrote a first draft for an article in ResOURces newsletter. It was about trails at Riverbend Park and the Riverbend Park Tree Walk. The first draft of the article opened like this:
Remember sitting in your office and staring out a window, wishing you were outside because it was such a beautiful day?
See? It’s true. Writers write what they know. The article talked about remembering those days you wished you were outside, and then getting outside when you have the chance.
Or maybe, instead of waiting to see if we have a chance, maybe we should create that opportunity. Consciously decide to go take a walk in a park.
There are over 400 county parks with patches of trees like my little one outside my window and across the street. Every one of them is an opportunity for a moment of refreshment.
It is a nice day. Blue sky, autumn-drenched trees nearing their peak, perfect temperature. Those trees, like the ones in parks all over the county, aren’t very far away from me. Probably some not far from you, either.
I think I see an opportunity before I go home.
Author David Ochs is the Manager of Stewardship Communications for the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division.