Gray’s Lake

So, it’s springtime! Well, I guess it technically has been for a while, but now it finally feels like it. The Drake campus is happy, warm, and bright. And people are out and about. Which is great. Love those people. In my earlier days at Drake, I would lounge on the grass outside of my residence halls in warm weather or hang out with friends outside of the library. We’d talk, study, read, and well, mostly talk, to be honest.

As wonderful as all that was, these days, in my oh-so-mature years, I often find myself needing a little peace and quiet to think and get stuff done. That’s not to say that I still don’t spend time with others enjoying the spring, going to ball games, eating ice cream, and everything, but there is something very appealing in the idea of a solitary escape to nature every now and then.

I guess my version of nature is still not exactly “natural,” but it is outdoors, and it works for me. This past week, I took some time and went to Gray’s Lake. It’s kind of an urban-feeling park just a few minutes from campus, and connected by bike trails to downtown Des Moines. There’s people parasailing, sail boating, running, walking dogs, playing with kids. There’s even a beach with sand where people can lay out and go swimming in the lake. I know it sounds like I’m describing a George Seurat painting or something, and actually, I guess I kind of am.

Gray’s Lake is an idyllic spot in a lot of ways. It seemed like the whole Des Moines community was there the other day, and yet, I still found a spot under a willow tree, in the grass, near the bank of the lake to relax and read and just be. It was the kind of spot that made me want to recite Keats and read Wordsworth. The kind of spot that made me want to drink some lemonade and just take a nap. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was refreshing to be outside on a beautiful day. Not exactly a revolutionary statement, I know. But a powerful one nonetheless.

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