There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Community Gardens at Tudek Park

My husband had some errands in town, and I decided to ride along. He dropped me off at Tudek Park and then went grocery shopping at the North Atherton Giant. So I got to walk all around and take pictures. I know I had lots more fun than he did!

The photo above shows the community gardens at Tudek Park. For a mere $35, you can have your own 300-square-foot garden plot. And people do! There is a waiting list. Look at all of what's growing in there. I laughed when I saw a wicker bench somebody had brought in. I imagined them walking to the park at night and sitting in that bench and quietly, peacefully, watching the ink black sky; feeding their soul with its stars.

In the back left is the amazing white oak tree that I visit every time I come here. In the back right is the big barn that holds horses! Yes, horses. Right in town! In fact, the property used to be a farm; the house is rented out, but there is a stipulation that whoever lives there MUST have horses. And indeed, I saw three horses on this day! There is also a butterfly garden - some flowers are growing, but I didn't see any actual butterflies yet.

This park's beauties are actually built upon a foundation of two family tragedies. The property was donated by the Tudek family in honor of their son, Tom Tudek, who died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 17, just before his high school graduation. The butterfly garden was built by "Butterfly Bob" Snetsinger, in honor of his daughter Clare, who also died (of cancer) at the age of 17. Both 17-year-olds were friends, and they were butterfly lovers from a young age.

I was walking along the fence to the horse pastures, laughing at the signs that indicate that my being there means that I assume "the risk of equine activities pursuant to Pennsylvania law," whatever the heck that means. Why yes, I guess I do. . . .

And I saw a bird land on the wooden railing. You may see a photo of it in the extras. I believe it is a brown-headed cowbird; it is a species whose reproductive strategy is to lay eggs in other birds' nests. It was sitting there looking just like a regular bird, and then suddenly, it sort of went POOF, and all of its feathers were puffed up just like that! (Yes, the park is a haven for birds too.)

So those are some of the adventures I had at the park, in the 40 or so minutes I had. Here is some additional information about the park, for any who may be interested. Negotiations for the park land began in 1990. In the mid to late 1980s, I lived in Park Forest Apartments, right next to this space, and my walks sometimes took me along the property's edges. So I remember it when it was still family-owned farmland, though I don't remember knowing about that huge white oak tree at the time, or I would have been there constantly!

This posting is a celebration of green space in places where it is most needed, which is to say, right in the middle of town! With its plots of growing things, its horses, its butterfly gardens, its trails, the park is a marvelous, peaceful, beautiful place. It is State College's best secret garden.

The soundtrack song has to be this one: Bruce Springsteen, with Secret Garden. Music begins around 1 minute in.

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