I stopped at a spot I’ll never go to again.
It was a little seating area by one of the river’s bends, where you can see that someone decades ago stenciled the N backwards on the underside of the Ashland bridge.
It was down a path past a pretentiously named preschool. It was a Sunday. I was alone. It became my place.
It hadn’t always been my place. The graffiti and well-manicured shrubbery attested that a few other people had been there in time. It had been their place once, their little lonely spot by the river’s bend, past a pretentiously named preschool.
When it was my place, it was nice and sunny. A rare warm day that didn’t immediately bode rain. When it was my place, you could see a bright blue sky dappled with clouds so fluffy it looked like children drew them.
When it was my place, joggers went along the Ashland and Webster bridges. An elderly couple threw bread down from the end of the Ashland bridge onto a disinterested Canada goose. The goose sat on one of those wooden piling there to protect the bridge from sloppy boats. Another goose floated in the water nearby.
I noticed another set of geese, this pair with a couple of goslings, bobbing happily through the murky, brackish water.
Another set of geese, this one with four fluffy offspring, swam nearby. The young ones paddled along. The adults stretched their necks forward as they swam.
We live on top of one another in a city. We move and jostle and bump each other. A moment like this, a moment when you’re able to carve off a slice of city just for you and you alone is a beautiful thing.
A day you can watch the clouds.
A day you can listen to birds and watch goslings paddle through the water.
A day where you can sit outside and be wondrously, gloriously, maddeningly alone.
My moment was sullied when a woman with a cell phone and a happy-faced corgi walked down the path past the pretentiously named preschool. She walked and talked and looked at the water and the shrubbery and graffiti.
I left. It was her place now.