April showcases nature’s own coloring book in Allegheny Commons Park.

Photo: Lake Elizabeth in the spring of 2020. Courtesy of Park Ranger Stevie Smith

Allegheny Commons is like a honey bee hive: During the winter months people avoid it, staying inside to focus on themselves and their families; hibernating and enjoying hot drinks and good company. Every so often there is an odd warm day and like excited honey bees, people come out of the hive to enjoy this place they call “Outside.” Taking in all the fresh air and sunshine, there’s truly no feeling like it. Then, they’re brought back inside when the temperatures drop once again. March is an exciting time: Still in winter, but yet so close to spring. 

An image of a squirrel in Allegheny Commons Park last spring showcases the “coloring book” of nature the park displays. Courtesy of Park Ranger Stevie Smith

March has brought rain and some warmth, although still mostly colder days. Mother Nature soaks in every bit of water and sunshine. If you haven’t noticed, there are already new shapes and colors finding their way into our beautiful Allegheny Commons. In a very short time, the coloring page of Allegheny Commons will begin. Not all at once, but if you watch with each day, there will be more life appearing with each sunrise and even more by each sunset.

Maybe one day you will notice the red buds on an oak tree, the small yellow flowers on the trees at the edge of the dog park, or the tease of pink as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom on the reflection of Lake Elizabeth. The days of coloring are endless as our parks begin their spring transformation.

So as April arrives, Ranger Stevie asks you to take a moment to yourself as you walk through the park. Do you see the squirrel in Allegheny Commons chasing another squirrel, reminding the other who is still in charge? Is there a bird in a tree that maybe you’ve never seen before? Or maybe it’s just the bark on a tree, doing what it’s always done: providing protection; a calmness as you stare at the water in Lake Elizabeth. Allegheny Commons is truly a special place to us all; It has so many stories to tell, and the story of spring is about to begin!

If you’d like to share your pictures of Allegheny Commons Park, please be sure to tag your Pittsburgh Park Rangers on Instagram with the @pghparkrangers handle.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Stevie Smith is a City of Pittsburgh Park Ranger in the Northside’s Allegheny Commons Park.

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