In future, I will look back upon 2011 as the year that I became enamored of the State Park - and if I am not quite a convert from ocean beaches to lakes, then at least I have learned to appreciate the gentler joys of freshwater swimming.
On weekends, we have been taking the kids to Gilbert Lake State Park for swimming and playing in the dirt.
Last week, my sister and I spent a few days in Saratoga Springs on our inaugural sisters-only vacation :) We spent time walking and bathing in Saratoga Spa State Park, aka "The Public's Resort."
This past weekend, we all went to Glimmerglass State Park.
Our family's enjoyment of the parks has reminded me not only how much good it does us to enjoy water, sun, air, and earth, but also how much good We the People can do for ourselves. While walking the Hall of Springs at Saratoga Spa State Park, my sister and I noted that the buildings were constructed in 1934. If it was possible to build and even more significant to see the point of building "the public's resort" during the Great Depression, then surely we can summon the hope and imagination to build even better now - or at least not tear down what we already have.
The state parks brought to mind what my parents, who immigrated from South Korea, had said about Americans as being grandly generous.
For a $7 vehicle entry fee, you can have the run of a freshwater lake surrounded by wooded hills, with picnic tables and playgrounds (not to mention clean restrooms and a place to shower and change).
Rest and play and enjoyment ought not be reserved for individuals who can pay a premium or fly off-shore to find them. Places of rest and play and enjoyment in nature exist all around us. I am thinking that In These Economic Times, we need to fight for our right to swim and make mud pies.