Editor’s Note: 85% of the US population owns a smartphone(statista). This adds to the constant busyness of lives and makes it hard to unplug; it can also lead to unneeded stress. According to a 2019 study published in Scientific Reports, spending at least 120 minutes in nature a week is associated with good health and decreased stress (White et al). In other words, sometimes we are in need of a stroll through the park, so that’s what we’re giving you. The following is a collection of articles about different parks in New Orleans. The collection features historical articles, talking about the history of different parks; informative articles, featuring different events that can be attended at parks; and creative writing that draws inspiration from the park’s beauty. Our goal through curating this selection was to give anyone the ability to take a virtual stroll through the park. We hope this collection provides a much needed disconnect from the world, and inspires you creatively. This piece was originally published on Mar 2, 2020
The Tree of Life in Audubon Park, New Orleans, officially the Etienne de Bore Oak, No. 13 of the first 43 oaks inducted into the Live Oak Sociery. (Photo: Renee Peck)
Reincarnation in Audubon Park 2/22/20
If given the choice I would come back
as an oak tree beside the golf course
next to hole number three.
I would take my place in the chorus line of oaks
where I could enjoy the parade of children and parents,
lovers and friends, and countless smiling dogs
as they pass beneath the shade of my branches.
While golfers grapple
with the physics of force and gravity,
I would take pleasure in the dance of light
across the surface of the water hazard…
the one they seek to avoid.
I would not worry about being
as tall and slender as a pine
or as tapered and symmetrical as a cypress,
however much I admire them.
I would be content to produce acorns
instead of flowers as beautiful and fragrant
as the magnolia.
Knowing that I will never be
as carefree as the insouciant palm
or as sensual as a banana tree,
I would find endless delight
in the sparkle and flutter of my ordinary leaves
as they dance in the sunshine and breeze.
I would not envy the trees that I revere so much
because I have discovered
that crookedness is what makes
each oak tree special and unique,
not the way we approximate an ideal.
So I would be grateful for every implausible
twist and turn of my branches,
secure in the knowledge that there will never be
another tree in this universe, or any other,
that is exactly like me.