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flowering treeInch by inch the sun climbs higher requiring adjustments to the tilt and angle of the cloth fishing hat I wear to shield my eyes from the light. I position my chair beneath the pine and observe the landscape of the park.

The evergreens which have stood faithful through the winter’s frost and rains provide a dark background for the first of the flowering trees whose pink and white blossoms declare the arrival of spring.

The sea gulls, responding to some mysterious seasonal signal, have recently departed leaving the big field flat and empty except for the young girl who sits cross-legged and with head bowed, secretively rolls a joint.

From the naked oak trees, the crows practice cries of indignation in rehearsal for some future occasion when intimidation will be required.

A dark-skinned man pushing a white-haired crone in a wheel chair stops to chat with the bouncing woman with dreadlocks whose big voice carries easily over the pathways.

The creek, still frisky from the weekend’s rain, tumbles over banks and curls around roots in its eagerness to reach the river that will in turn carry it to the great sea beyond where it will, for the first time, encounter the giant migrating whales of legend.

In the distance the fountain on the lake spews jets of water high above the cruising ducks and migrating Canadian geese, the small lake an inn along their silken road north.

The muffled thump of car doors presage the arrival of young mothers with small children and restless dogs who want to walk faster and roam further than allowed.

“Howdy,” I say to the young man walking by whose glittering blue motorcycle helmet has “Pilgrim” stenciled in white. My cowboy welcome throws him off stride and as he slews left to the parking lot I hear the jingle of the metal clips of his leather boots.

Beneath the laughter and the calling birds and the swish of passing cars, the large hands of Silence cradle the park gently as it swings into the afternoon.

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