On a recent visit to CHRISpark, my son, F.T., stopped at a limestone bench and read out loud: “‘I took a long look at a mountain.’ Mama, why does it say that there?”
I thought about it for a moment; F.T. turned to walk away. “Wait, let me explain. A mama built this park. She had a son like you, and she loved him very much, but he died. She built this park to remember him. Those were his words.”
“Mama, don’t talk in a silly voice.”
“No, F.T., I’m not talking in a silly voice. I’m crying. I love you so much. I would be so sad if you were gone.”
“It’s OK, Mama,” F.T. said. “I’m fine. I’m right here.” He gave me a hug. “You need to fix your voice.”
Then my daughter, G.N., called out, “Look! More sparkles.”
Yes, there are sparkles in the sidewalks, in several scatterings along the path. I bent down for a closer look, and smiled. CHRISpark is a memorial that was built by Linda Pace to remember her son, David Christopher “Chris” Goldsbury, who died in 1997 at age 24. Thoughtful messages from his journals are inscribed on limestone benches throughout the park.
The park is located in Southtown on Camp Street, and provides the entrance to SPACE, the public exhibition space of the Linda Pace Foundation. The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays, and admission is free. We parked for free along Camp Street.
The first thing you encounter is a fountain plaza (the water jets, unfortunately, turned off during the drought) and starfield, a constellation that lights up at night.
The next space we visited was a shady bamboo grove.
Among the bamboo, hoja santa, and other plantings are the journal benches—the ones that made me cry and prompted F.T. to hug me and reassure me. Further along the path, we passed a banana plant, a row of agaves, and flowers, including ruellia and echinacea.
In a quiet corner, my kids encountered the brightly-colored circles of “Wednesday’s Child” by Teresita Fernández. Each circle is inscribed with a line from the nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child”, except each day of the week has been replaced with Wednesday, the day Chris was born. F.T. read each one out loud and puzzled over the meaning.
Tracing back our steps, we found the tumble hill, an irresistible grassy slope to climb and run down again.
CHRISpark is a contemplative place, but also joyful. I hope you will take your kids to experience it. You will want to bring a camera when you visit CHRISpark, or maybe even meet with a photographer here. The park welcomes photographers, but it’s important to be respectful of the tranquil mood of the park. If you have questions, email [email protected] and they will clarify.
Amanda, a fellow Alamo City Moms Blog contributor and photographer at arg photographs, enjoys taking family portraits at CHRISpark. Here’s a tip from Amanda: the arbor, just beyond the fountain plaza, makes a great frame for a family photo.
Amanda understands the atmosphere of the park. Remember the journal benches, that made me cry when my son read them aloud to me? Look at how Amanda uses a bench to make this beautiful maternity image even more poignant. The memorial becomes a celebration of new life.
CHRISpark is an exquisite place, but if you need more room to get the wiggles out, here are more ideas for local picture-taking spots:
- Japanese Tea Garden—read more in Katy’s post
- San Antonio Botanical Garden—read more in my earlier post
- Landa Gardens