One evening last summer, my son and I decided to walk through Vander Veer Park in Davenport. We parked by the lagoon, grabbed our water bottles and began walking. We passed a whimsical portrait of Van Gogh which said the theme for the park that year was "Color." And so it was. Flowers of every color, size and fragrance swayed in a breeze that could only have been sent by the gods to cool this hot, humid evening.

The rose garden reminded me of life itself, each bush beautifully evolving in its own stage life. Almost without warning, we entered the Grand Allee; a walkway of trees and flowerbeds fashioned after the original in France. We headed toward the stone fountain and followed the path leading back to the lagoon.

We found a bench, heavily shaded, sat and surveyed the landscape. We saw families walking together, two boys fishing in the catch-and-release pond, a young woman wearing jogging attire pushing a three-wheeled buggy, people walking dogs and feeding the ducks around the lagoon.

I looked to heaven and marveled at the blueness of the sky. I noticed all the different shades of green in the trees that must have been strategically planted to showcase their beauty. It was so peaceful. I wondered what made this place so special. I saw diverse people sharing a space, respecting the rights of others and enjoying peace, beauty and love.

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Then, I understood. Vander Veer Park had given me a view of our world at its best. What a gift.

Diane Dankert


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