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Going Places: The best remedy to city chaos can come in the form of green grass.


Sometimes when the “world’s too much with you,” as Mr. Wordsworth put it, the only respite for your frazzled nerves might very well be a return to nature.

I realize that living in Stephenville makes it possible for many of us to experience nature up close and personal almost anytime the urge strikes.

Of course, if you don’t have access to green pastures or cedar breaks, with a modicum of maneuvering, you can find green space just off the courthouse square.

Stephenville City Park often explodes with residents, even when a planned festival event isn’t happening. People flock there to play various sports; hike, bike, or walk the trails; or simply hang out to feed the ducks and people watch.

For city dwellers in big urban areas, things are not so simple. I’ve discovered that after I’ve been a temporary resident in a concrete jungle, my need for nature grows in proportion to the shortness of my temperament. When you’re away from home and immersed in urban adventures, don’t forget to take the time to find some green space.

New York has its Central Park, and, as the name states, its location really is central and accessible from almost any Manhattan block. In London, Hyde Park, with its big lake and wild expanses, draws thousands to its benches. Like Central Park, Hyde Park’s location makes it accessible, but you have to work hard to feel remote when it’s really crowded on a summer day.

While Hyde Park has its fascination, don’t miss explorations of the venerable Hampstead Heath. It’s a bus ride from central London, but easily accessible, and so big, even at the height of the summer season, you can still find a secluded picnic spot.

The Heath has a wildness to its landscape, and you can climb sloping hills to reach the pinnacle, Parliament Hill. With a spectacular view of all of London, Parliament Hill deserves some of your time to be fully appreciated.

After enjoying the view, check on the three bathing pools. These spring-fed pools have clear, cold water and natural mud bottoms, but the lawns surrounding them are carefully manicured.

Bring a towel because you’ll definitely want to take a dip after the long walk from Parliament Hill to the ponds.

You’ll have your choice depending on your mood and circumstances. The “mixed” pond allows both men and women. The Men’s Pond, of course, allows men only, and at the Women’s Pond, you’ll find only women in various stages of exposure. Rules seem to be dictated by the youth of the crowd.

Bring sunscreen.

The afternoon I spent at the Women’s Pond not only restored my psyche and gave me faith in the idea of “sisterhood,” but also reminded me that sometimes the best remedies to city chaos come in the form of green grass, an afternoon swim and a nap.


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