Jonathan Wright


It was a rare evening this past Monday for one striking reason, one that took me by surprise but then made total sense. Nothing was going on.

Virtually nothing.

You know as well as I do that our area parks typically buzz with activity throughout the summer, with softball games, picnics, walking, jogging, fishing, biking, and many other pastimes. People descend on these facilities in total abandon, taking part in relaxation, recreation, and entertainment.

But this night was different, and it quickly occurred to me why:

It was the first weeknight after the long Independence Day weekend.

And nothing was going on.

Of course. That easily explained it.

My son and I were driving through Island Park in Ronceverte and decided to park at the amphitheater for a while and walk along the river. During the time we were at the park, we encountered a grand total of five people.

Five, mind you.

Four of this illustrious group included three ladies taking a leisurely walk with a baby in a stroller. The fifth was simply a young man fruitlessly trying his hand at fishing in the placid, almost-stagnant waters of the Greenbrier River, which was a bit on the low side due to recent dry weather conditions.

It was almost dark, and I remember thinking how unusual it was to be at Island Park at that time of the evening with absolutely none of the ball field spotlights illuminated. Nearly every time I had been there in the past several months, at least one of the ball fields was being used, easily indicated by the bright lights above, the numerous vehicles parked all around, and the scores of people sitting, standing, and walking.

Not so this evening. It was about as far removed from that scenario as you could imagine.

And then I realized why.

This was the first regular weekday after the long Independence Day weekend.

Of course.

All the picnics, all the games, all the festivities were over now, and people were obviously exhausted and staying home this evening. The youth leagues, with their season now over, were probably back to a normal home life as well.

To be perfectly honest, I’ll admit that I rather enjoyed it. After the enormous crowds, literally tens of thousands who had descended on our area for the various special events of the July 4 weekend, it was a welcome change to stroll along the riverside in quietness and solitude.

Despite its rural nature, we live in a very busy area of West Virginia. There’s a lot going on here, especially in the warm-weather months. I could list them here, but you know what they are—and there are a lot of them.

That’s good—but it’s also good to take a deep breath every now and then, slow down, and enjoy a break from the almost endless activity.

After all, any break you take won’t last long anyway.




more recommended stories