Long ago, back in a time when the sun shone warmly upon the earth, a time when a polar vortex was a just a gas station big gulp, my husband and I used to take our son to the park. We love our little park. It has been the site of many a picnic and birthday party. I find myself longing for it during this seemingly endless winter. Even just to sit and people (or squirrel) watch with the warm sun on my face is the most delicious thing I can imagine these days. Our park is home to an army of the fattest, most ill-tempered squirrels I’ve ever encountered. Their attitude problem, I think, comes down to the fact that they’re spoiled. There’s nothing in the park environment that poses any real threat to them except maybe the odd Pomeranian or overzealous child. They exist at the top of a food chain that includes themselves and about nine million acorns. It’s enough to make anyone a little uppity.

Fun fact: Did you know that squirrels make a siren sound when you take their seat? One afternoon, I was sitting on a bench watching my son play when I started to hear this drawn out, high pitched whine, reminiscent of an air raid drill. I turned to see a giant gray squirrel staring me down from an adjacent stump with an intensity that said, “Move. Now.” I would love to tell you that I refused to be menaced by a squirrel and didn’t move, but I totally did. He meant business and I’m too proud to let my cause of death be “squirrel turf war.”

Our park features an outdoor stage where local theatre troupes perform Shakespeare during the warmer months. If you’re feeling dangerous, you can catch a show in early autumn when the acorns start to fall. The park is full of hugely tall oak trees that produce acorns about an inch and a half in diameter and starting in September, they try to kill you. A few years ago, we attended a performance of Macbeth where the acorns were rocketing to the earth with such force that the sound of them smacking the wooden stage drowned out the actors. They were also raining down in the audience, so every few minutes were punctuated with a yelp as some poor soul took an acorn missile to the skull. Like the old saying goes, “Theatre should be a little terrifying.”

We discovered that one of the playground dads looks exactly like Daniel Day Lewis. Our kids played together one day, so we all exchanged pleasantries while my husband and I tried not to blatantly stare at him with stars in our eyes. We immediately dubbed him Daniel Dad Lewis. We saw him later that summer at the pool and got way too excited about it. I wonder what he would think of the near celebrity status he’s achieved in our home. He would probably think it’s weird and he would not be wrong. We’re looking forward to more sightings this year.

We pass the park almost every day and inevitably a little voice floats up from the back seat saying, “There’s the park. We can go there when the snow melts.” We sure can, buddy, but at this rate that might not be until June. For now we’ll just dream of spring and bide our time until we can start complaining about the heat.