I had the opportunity to walk through the old Rocky Point Amusement Park grounds the other day. The last time I walked this area I was likely 9 or 10 years old. The nostalgia for the lost rides, shore dinner hall, hotdogs, and cotton candy, of course, came flooding back.
Some of the supports for the gondola ride stood rusting in the sun. Wrapped with the vines that will ultimately bring them crashing down, they will return to the earth over which they once stood.
Humans are great at building temporary things. Our intelligence and skills take the elements of the earth and converts them into towering monuments to our abilities. Yet, given adequate time through the unending process of living organisms, the earth will reclaim each of these.
Humans must work to maintain the things we build. The earth just has to continue on, patiently waiting for us to abandon these things as we so often do to once again reign supreme.
The 10-year-old me would lament the loss of the merry-go-round, the games, the Ferris wheel (named after its designer George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.), tilt-a-whirl, and myriad other rides. The memories of outings to places like Rocky Point, Lincoln Park, and Crescent Park invoke such powerful memories.
Although they pale when compared to the magic of the Magic Kingdom, my memories of these places keep a warm place in my heart. I think I prefer them to what Disney has become, although I suppose each generation feels the same of the origins of their childhood memories.
I wonder if Walt Disney himself would regret the destruction of the natural vistas to create artificial worlds filled with people losing their appreciation of this planet?
The half-a-century older me is glad the area is slowly returning to its natural state. It is a sign that we do have the potential to make sound decisions in our care of this planet when we chose to leave nature to itself.
Building ticky-tacky little houses all looking the same as we paved paradise would have made someone wealthy in the short run. (Aren’t you glad I put those songs playing in your head so you will hear them all day?) This Earth would still wait patiently for the moment to send out that first shoot of a vine or tree.
A shoot that would begin the inexorable process of taking back to the earth what man foolishly believes he has stolen for himself.
I for one am glad the vines and trees are tearing down the metal poles, reopening the vista of Narragansett Bay and the endless variations of nature’s bounty. While the view from a Ferris wheel can awaken the imagination of a young boy and create a lifelong memory, to embrace and appreciate nature creates joy for a lifetime.