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August in Oklahoma County: Myriad Gardens now has chess and Mallow Poppies

First attempt with Dad at the pipe slide
First attempt with Dad at the pipe slide

There was a new set up of folding tables and chairs with the game chess. Wonder how that will fare when blustery winds hit? Upending a challenge, suppose. Some new and different things seemed to be underway this weekend in Oklahoma County's Myriad Garden as OKC enjoyed more moderate temperatures.

Energy across most American cities changes when August hits, and school begins again. More time seems to be spent at the mall or the movies, bowling or other indoor activities. Sometimes in Oklahoma that is because it is ridiculously hot ( well above 100) and being outside is unmanageable. Not so this weekend. Temperatures were hovering at 90, and there was some cloud cover.

Blooming towards the giant waterfall, across from the Colcord Hotel and looking a bit surrealistic are the Mallow Poppies. They look a lot like a giant hibiscus. These white and sometimes deep magenta flowers are about the size of a luncheon plate, with broad leafed shrubs underneath. And certainly these are just one of a giant collection of blooming plants across this city block of garden.

Piles of little children were at the Myriad Gardens with their Mom's and Dad's or even grandparents this weekend. The 5 and under crowd occupied the small splash park down by the IceHouse Nic's Burgers in number.

The children's garden too was busy. One little girl and her Dad took her first turn in the children's garden at the pipe slide. Another watched her mom fiddle with the parking meter, eager to get to the rainforest splash park the big kids love. Still another child looked at the changing spray of the fountains, and pulled questioningly at Sunday clothes, looking between parents for a possible option, when it appeared there was none that day.

The park has a requirement children be covered, but doesn't have a swimsuit rule. Many people aren't aware there is a children's fountain and happen upon it, allowing their kids in wearing street clothes is completely acceptable.

Many couples bring their kids after work to the park. Dads seem to bring their kids to the park on Sundays, and during the week, it is often Moms.

Typically there is at least one photo shoot of some kind sometimes happening in the park, sometimes, many at once: quinceanera, engagement, fashion, class trip, wedding,anniversary, holiday cards. The architectural backdrops are rich and the environmental elements change seasonally.

Periodically, the individuals in the shoots are local celebrities, sometimes before they do the shoot, others after. With the quinceanera, those posing might end up in the all famous social events section centerfold of the El Nacional, Spanish language newspaper. This must see teen rite, is interpreted with the honoree by a slew of professionals. Local visual artists arrange the high fashion party goers endlessly in clever poses that make for statements of the day, time and culture for the honored young woman.

A number of people were riding the perimeter sidewalk, around and around the park, leaving the interior walks for people enjoying the flowers and waterways. More people seem to be bringing their bikes by car downtown, and then riding along the Myriad Gardens or the 8 or so blocks SOUTH of the Myriad to the Oklahoma River trails, which are paved, wide and span both sides of the Oklahoma River.

Oklahoma City has been absent a space where regularly people gather, like the zocalo squares in Mexico, and the Myriad Gardens is just that. A place to enjoy a temperate taste of nature in the company of others.

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