Our Pretty City

I had returned from Europe just a few hours earlier. While driving, my husband inquired, “So how are you doing, honey?” “Good,” I replied. “I’m happy to be home to my family and my pretty city.” A look of mock horror crossed Todd’s face. Did he not believe he and our sons were missed? Then it was clear. “You’ve just been through Holland, Belgium, and France,” he said. “Yes, and I am happy to be home to you guys and our pretty city.”

During my 13-day adventure, when spring was just budding in Holland and Belgium and had advanced only a bit further in Paris, a verdant green landscape arose from the chill in Southwestern Indiana. I was greeted with a stunningly beautiful spring. “Pretty enough,” I thought, “to inspire Monet,” the French impressionist still on my mind from various Paris museum visits just a few days earlier.

Of course, the Ohio Valley landscape has long inspired great art. Just three weekends ago, 200 artists gathered in New Harmony for the First Brush of Spring Plein Air Paint Out.

Returning from the European landscape caused me to look at our city with fresh eyes. Our area largely was populated by Western European immigrants who settled here because the countryside was more similar than dissimilar to their homelands. Here, they established many of the European gardening traditions that we enjoy all seasons, and especially in spring.

As I walked my dog Jed in the Evansville State Hospital park near my house, being happy to be home was still at the top of my mind. How fortunate am I to have a 65-acre park to enjoy across the street from my house? But … if only it were preserved, developed, and maintained to the European standards of parks I had just visited.

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