Dreaming of summer

To the Editor:

I love winter in the Midwest. I stay in Fairmont the whole year. But sometimes winter can drag on, especially after Valentine’s Day.

This year, our only respite from the winter seems to come through daydreaming of the summer.

Maybe I love winter because of the knowledge that summer is just a few months away. As the temperatures in Fairmont start to rise above freezing, winter will gradually pull back to reveal all the memorable opportunities for summer enjoyment. And in Fairmont, with all our wonderful facilities and natural resources, summer is such a glorious time.

I’m old enough to remember and appreciate the beginnings of many summer resources and traditions. I remember, as a young boy, commemorating the visionary founders who established all the beautiful lakeside parks in Fairmont. And I still marvel at the foresight of those who set aside that valuable strip of land between Budd and Hall lakes for Gomsrud Park. I remember the first summer band concerts in the newly built Sylvania Park bandshell. And I remember, more recently, the initiative of Duane Belseth, who on his own decided that a string of varying types of trees should be along that open space on Woodland Avenue, on either side of Bird’s bridge.

But, I also like to think of myself as young enough to appreciate what the visionaries of today are doing with our beautiful natural resources in Fairmont. It won’t be long now before we’ll be able to go out on the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon. What a great recreational and communal activity these men and women have initiated and maintained.

On days like this, when I feel homebound due to all the snow and ice outside, I look forward to the summer days when I can visit the parcels of land and the parks maintained by the Conservation Club, which has carried on the foresight of Fairmont’s founders in purchasing land bordering our lakes and setting them aside for future generations to use and enjoy.

And I look with optimistic anticipation on the establishment of a new lakeside park at the site of the old filtration plant – the first such park to be established in more than a half century. Indeed, I hope this visionary kind of planning reaches similar fruition in the proposed conversion of the Fairmont-Welcome railroad line to a bike path (This project should take great inspiration from the excellent work of Joe Burns and his committee in creating the current walk and bicycle path in Fairmont.)

During these winter days when I feel chilled to the bone, I like to think of the first warm and sunny day in May, when I’ll be able to go out to Camp Cedar Point and look out from that commanding position of the point to see the luminous colors of the rising sun.

I like to think of all the generous people who make summers in Fairmont so vibrant and memorable. The organizers of Friday’s in the Park. The volunteers at Martin County Historical Society and Heritage Acres, who sponsor fun and engaging events that remind us of our heritage while helping us to enjoy our present. I even think, when seeing all the bicyclists around town, of Larry Vogel, who owns the bicycle shop and who bought the old Christian Church and donated it as the future Red Rock Center – and of all the dedicated volunteers who have built that into a first-class performing arts center.

On days like this, when I find myself dragged down a bit by a winter that seems not to know when to politely leave, I think of the beauty of Fairmont in the summer. And when I look out my frosted window to the thermometer outside, with the needle pointing to the sub-zero range, I think of all the warmth and energy of Fairmonters who make summers here so memorable.

Mike Garry