This post is for my fellow Fallbrookians.
To grow up in Fallbrook is to go to Live Oak Park.
I have more memories than I can count centered around that park.
I love it just as much now as I did then.
I always wished I could live in one of those cool, old ranger houses.
I always loved the towering, gnarled, oak trees.
I always loved the finding acorns stuffed in trees by acorn woodpeckers and squirrels.
My love for Fallbrook runs deep.
So does my love for Live Oak Park.
The only complaint I have about the park is that all the old playground equipment is gone.
You know the equipment we played on as kids?
The big merry-go-round that we'd get spinning at crazy speeds and then throw our heads back as we spun and tried not to get sick.
My brother and his friends would hold onto one of the handles and drag the lower half of their bodies in the dirt as it spun.
We had so much fun with that thing.
Then there were the super tall swings, the super tall slide, the bumpy slide, the big teeter totters, and that swing thing that you had to stand under and swung from with your arms up above your head.
Remember that one?
It's all gone.
Replaced with new, probably safer, equipment.
I miss the old, paint-chipped, sharp-metal-edged, head-injury-inducing stuff I grew up with.
But my kids like the new stuff just fine.
We visited the park with the cousins a couple of days after Christmas.
Lilly and Lizzy like to share everything.
William and Cora on the strange teeter-totter contraption.
William loves Cora so much.
They really understand each other, I think.
And she is sweet to him--so she's even better than a big sister would be.
Because sometimes big sisters can be bossy, or bratty.
(except for mine--she's perfect. and i'm not being sarcastic)
I think my love for nature--exploring it, learning about it, studying it, and simply being out in it--started at Live Oak Park.
As a kid, I imagined it to be the wilderness and loved taking off on the "trails", searching for adventure.
It's a beautiful place for exploring.
Especially at this time of year when the grass is green.
A little bit of rain brings out the mushrooms.
And way up there in that Sycamore tree, we saw some acorn woodpeckers.
I wish I had brought my zoom lens.
I'm glad this park of the park hasn't changed.
There is something about those old, stone walls lining the creeks that I just love.
They bring back very specific memories.
Like the time I was 13, wearing my pink jeans, purple shirt, pink scrunchie, purple socks and pink and purple hightops, trying to keep all of them clean by just walking on the sandy parts of the creek bed.
A boy offered to hold my hand and jump down into the deeper part of the creek.
"Let's jump together," he said.
"That's OK," I said with a toss of my ponytail. "I can do it myself."
Is it any wonder I didn't have a boyfriend until I was 18?
I was never very good at flirting.
But I did always love to explore that creek.
It's a bit harder now, with Davy in tow and Lilly to help up and down.
James had his first brush with stinging nettles here a couple of years ago.
Now he knows to look out for it.
And poison oak too.
They don't let danger deter them.
And they're dying to go in that tunnel.
I remember feeling the same way.
My mom never let me.
I haven't let them.
I guess some things never change.
Oh those were some stinky and muddy feet heading back to the car.
But they had fun.
And when we got back, there were gingerbread houses to make.
But mostly a lot of candy to eat.
Because, you have to do up Christmas right.
And before we left Fallbrook and Christmas 2011, we swung by the Christmas house for a musical light show that rivals anything that Disneyland has.
And it's free!
Cheers to another wonderful Christmas.
PS. If you are a bit of a Fallbrook nerd, or at least interested in its history, I found this, which talks a lot about the history of Live Oak Park.
There are some good stories in it and pictures too.