Down by the Bank

3 03 2010

Yesterday, I got the kids out the door to school and thought, “Phew. I’m going to finish my book.”

So I sat down and finished my book, and then I got online and started blog-surfing and playing Scramble on Facebook (my type of heroin) and before I knew it, the morning was over.

Gee, I thought. The morning is over and I haven’t even showered yet.

I took a long shower and wondered (not for the first time) why showers seem hotter during the day than in the early morning. (Haven’t decided. Is it the outside temp? The fact that I’m fully awake? What say you?)

I put on yoga pants even though no yoga was in sight for the rest of the day, then decided to ride my scooter down to the park. I put an apple and some string cheese (lunch of champions!), a book, a notebook, and my little camera (thanks, Mom!) in my backpack and rode my brake hard the whole way down the big hill. The park was still there (naturally), but I don’t think I’d ever been there before without any children.

 I steered clear of all playground areas on purpose, not quite sure if they would make me happy or sad. I tootled along one of the trails (an older man, walking with his wife, called out to me, “That’s cheating!”) and ended up at a sculpture. You know, the kind comissioned by the Arts council to bring culture to the city or something.


I like it.

I thought about sitting there and eating my lunch, but decided not to–it was wet. I rode on.

I decided to head up the hill, where a group of large rocks is surrounded by some lovely blooming trees. When I was within eyeshot, though, I noticed some guy talking on his cell phone up there. But it was okay, because the trees weren’t blooming yet, anyway.

I rode on.

I ended up next to the outer wall of the park.

Which isn’t so much a wall, really. It’s more like a crummy raised sidewalk. (And I say crummy with deep love.)

I couldn’t ride on it because it was falling apart, so I simply carried my scooter and went on my way.

I loved this bit of spring moss, which isn’t moss green at all. More like chartreuse.

Moss is very romantic, yes, but it becomes a scourge when it overtakes your lawn. (Firsthand experience!) I can certainly enjoy its springiness in the park, though.

It was about this point when I remembered the river. You might think a person, living less than a mile away from a river, would remember it more often. I think I forgot about it mostly because, whenever we go to the park, my number one priority is to keep my small children away from swiftly moving bodies of water.

I hopped off the other side of the wall and descended down the rocky side of the bank. (It’s a good thing I didn’t have a bike–I don’t think that would have worked nearly as well.)

The book I had brought was nonfiction, perfect for river reading. What is it about moving water? It sets a nice stage for contemplation.

I sat on a rock and opened my book. Now, let me just say that I am a fiction reader. I wouldn’t have picked this one up yesterday except it was due at the library and I’d already renewed it . . . twice. Since I’d already had my fiction fix that morning, though, it was just right.

I read.

I contemplated.

I drew a picture in my notebook, which could probably be described as a triptych if it had hinges. The first two parts were painful because I was trying too hard (you could tell) but by the third one I had loosened up enough for it to look how I wanted it to.

I ate my string cheese then took a self-portrait.

 (I’m kind of a dork.)

I thought some more, the river lulling me with its placidity. I ate my apple.

I dug through my pack to find my cell phone in order to check the time (I was volunteering at the school, and wanted to do my hair and change out of my yoga pants before going).

Yep. Time to go.

I tucked my books and phone and camera back into my bag, and thought about road trips and throwing apples out the window. I found a likely clump of grass surrounding a scrubby tree, and chucked my core that direction. Just as it left my fingers, a voice said, “Hi, there!”

I jumped about a foot.

Really, you’d have thought I’d been dumping a box full of styrofoam peanuts into the river the way my heart raced.

“Hello,” I said weakly. “How are you?”

In my mind I was telling myself not to be defensive, there was nothing wrong with sending an apple core back to nature. The lady turned and walked away.

It was really weird, and I decided I’d contemplated enough for one day.

I scootered (walked) up the big hill and went inside my house.

Then I did my hair. (Please don’t look at that picture of me closely. It is so scary.)