The park in Ashland, Oregon is really quite beautiful. It is a small town that sets itself apart by featuring an extraordinary park. This is a green space that doesn’t really end, but rather wends its way into the hills, ultimately disappearing into the wilderness that is the Pacific Northwest. It has a delightful creek running its length and presents itself in full splendor every season of the year. It was designed by the same man who designed the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He is known for designing only two parks, and our small town has one of them.  

Over the course of a year, I was walking its length and started noticing something unusual. On one particular picnic table, a series of natural wreaths were carefully arranged, each one unique and artistically arranged. Were they connected to the memorial plaque? Was it an art project of some kind? My curiosity got the better of me and I redoubled my efforts, determined to find who was responsible.

On a cold spring day, my wish finally came true. To my delight, I found the woman behind these heartfelt creations. Dottie has lived her whole life here in Ashland and she shared with me a touching story about her husband and his role in the community. 

The wreaths were indeed related to the memorial plaque, an expression of her love and a tribute to her late husband. Dottie explained that sometimes people added their own touches to her wreaths, but she always has the final say, and rightfully so!

I took a break soon after and went to Europe and the Oregon Coast. Returning, a year later, I found a new wreath, in the same spot, on the same picnic table. It was at this moment that I felt the significance of this story.  The commitment and care we share with loved ones is as durable as it is beautiful, as extraordinary as it is kind.