The murmur of teenagers, twenty somethings, thirty somethings, like sea lions limp across the grass in their languor — a sea of skin and flannel and beach towels and plastic sunglasses, bicycles on their sides like ships run aground.
Children clamor in the playground, their squeals and laughs holding a unique note in the distance, in tandem with the squeaks and clanks of the chain-link swing.
Wafts of pungent marijuana smoke pass like plumes of skunk incense. Beer bottles clank. A wine bottle pops! and breaths.
The rhythm of the children’s swing continues in the background, like the soft bray of a donkey. Hee haw. Hee haw. Somewhere unseen a man pelts an animal skin drum, rum tum tum, rum tum tum, the metronome of the park.
Dogs of course, the dogs. They run unleashed, chasing each other, judging each others strength and dominance, accepting equal ground and galloping about with teasing yips and running past a larger hound and nipping its neck to test the boundaries of the game. A lanky Great Dane bobbles about like a lost child, neither confident in its independence nor its physicality.
Tight rope walkers sling a taught red nylon rope between two palms and invite any curious adventurers to tread the string, which tongs like a cello when they leap off after a trepidatious attempt, laughing, arms akimbo, legs aquiver. The thud of adult feet falling to earth.
A dark man with a beard and a large pack slung across his shoulder walks by, pronouncing his “ganja treats” in a voice loud enough to carry and soft enough to be aimless. Another passes with “cold beer, cold water.”
The amalgamated white noise of the collective park, with the skyline of San Francisco running across half the horizon like a picket fence, gives opportunity to forget about tomorrow and yesterday.