Sunday Afternoon

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.

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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.

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Wafts of pungent marijuana smoke pass like plumes of skunk incense. Beer bottles clank. A wine bottle pops! and breaths.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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