My name is Saja Aures. I work in the City’s Public Information Office. I’m happy to kick-off this blog with its very first post.
I wanted our office to start a blog exploring Savannah’s parks, playgrounds and other public places for a few reasons, but most of the credit goes to my folks. My dad is the former director of the City’s Park and Tree Department. He and my mom share a love of nature. When I was a kid, we spent countless hours as a family in the woods and on the water. Now that I’m a parent, I find myself seeking out every opportunity to get my own kid outdoors. I realize how my folks really got it right, how important it is for children and adults to unplug, to stand beneath trees, to run in grass.
As a working mom, evenings during the week are a rushing whirlwind but my kid expects us to find the time every day to venture outside. Coming up on two, she will bossily instruct me, first pointing at our feet and then at the front door: shoe, out! The message is clear, time to get our shoes on, we’re going outside.
I live on the east side of Savannah, so while the well-known treasures of Forsyth and Daffin are great for weekend outings, we don’t have time to pack up and make it to a big park on an average Tuesday night. I’m fortunate to have a few small parks within walking distance of our house. We visit Wessels Park, at Wessels between Vermont and Massachusetts, nearly every day.
The park has a few benches, nicely finished sidewalks, a picnic table, and several large trees casting shade across the open areas. It’s a simple, quiet place. But to my two year old, it is a place of adventure and possibility. She can race through the grass at top speed. She can crouch close to the ground and examine marching ants. She can use the steps leading up to the park as a stage, the benches her soapbox. She meets neighbors, she greets dogs. She tries to wave over highly disinterested cats. She collects rocks, the best ones finding their way into my pockets. She recounts her day, we talk about what tomorrow may bring. And finally we end each visit reluctantly, pushed back to the house by the retreating sun.
The simplicity of this park and the immense pleasure my kid takes in it goes to show that sometimes the very best park isn’t the one with the most stuff, but instead the one closest to your front door.
Visit Wessels Park: