There’s nothing like a walk in the park

I look down. A crack in the pavement. Crumpled strands of grass. Untied shoelaces flopping about. An ant scurries past me, narrowly missing my right shoe.

I look up. A mass of tree leaves. A shuttlecock, blatantly white against the shimmering green.

I close my eyes. A swing squeaks timidly into the breeze. Another gust, and loose hair pastes to my lips. My chest is rising and falling but I cannot hear my own breaths. There is only the wind roaring into my ears.

Candid shot of my sister on the swing

I pass a group of elderly people practising Tai Chi, their movements slow but firm and in perfect harmony to the guzheng playing on their radio.  I pass a sweaty jogger bobbing to the music blaring in her ears. I pass a tiny brown bird pecking at a pine cone on the concrete.

Squawking fills the air.

I put on my earphones and spin to the music flooding in, and my dress spins and spins with me. The fence nearby watches me.

I start jogging, then I start running. The fence blurs and the world blurs and tilts from side to side.

Cheeks flushed. Heart pounding loud in my ears. My chest rises and falls, and I hear myself breathing over the wind. I let out a strangled laugh, then collapse onto the grass and watch the sea of clouds drift by.

At night, there will be a sea of stars instead, and a crescent moon will shyly beam down upon the park. A lone streetlight will flicker on and off. Shadows will disappear into the darkness. I will draw back my blinds and gaze at the park as if I am seeing it for the very first time and taking it all in for the very last time.

The park is my special place. What’s yours?