Every evening the little park about four blocks from my summer apartment becomes a community gathering place. The tall trees provide shade and a welcome relief from the day’s lingering heat.
Elderly couples stroll through the grounds, admiring the plants. If they tire of walking, they stop and settle themselves on a bench to rest for a while.
Little boys ride their bicycles round and round the perimeter. Children laugh or shriek in mock terror as their parents push them higher and higher in the swings.
Teenage boys play a fast and furious game of futbol—better known as soccer in the United States. After the boys exhaust themselves, they sink to the ground and lean against one of the towering eucalyptus trees. After only a short breather, the action begins again, even faster and more furious than before.
The ice cream man tinkles his bell, hoping to make a sale. A man with two dogs, one a Labrador mix, and the other a sort of scruffy poodle, buys two ice cream cones and feeds them to his canine friends.
Soon twilight gives way to darkness, but no one seems eager to leave this little oasis of tranquility in the midst of the bustling city. Long after birds have settled in the treetops for the night, the last person leaves. It’s not hard to imagine him whispering, “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
five hundred blossoms—
even the last one to fall
bears a sweet fragrance
Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved