Monday, December 30, 2013

Afternoon in the park

Afternoon in the park, golden light and the air is crisply mild. There’s a grinding, shredding sound from the chipper chewing up discarded Christmas trees for the City’s recycling recycling program. The sound rises and falls like an animal's feeding growl as the branches catch the blades. A slap-crack-whack sound as skateboarders jump the curb. I stand up from my desk and stretch, looking out the window. Out on the sidewalk, a kid drives a toy car shaped like a bright blue egg.  

There are three skateboarders; two pre-teens and a tall, lanky man wearing a t-shirt advertising Coca-Cola. The kids’ dad, maybe? He has greying sideburns. They flip and jump the curb, copy-cat, challenging one another.

As I continue to watch, a small boy about five years old furiously pedals a green bike up the paved pathway and cuts a right turn around a tree trunk; too sharp, he wipes out, sprawls on the ground beneath the bike. At the window, I wince, waiting for the crying to start – despite the helmet, his elbows and knees are bare and I can feel the scrape of concrete. But, surprisingly, the kid is quiet, lying there a minute and then rising, stoically, brushing his palms on his pants and bends over the bike.

The force of the fall has twisted the handlebars in the bike’s fork, so they’re no longer aligned square to the frame. The kid’s too small, he can’t twist them right.

The skateboarders had stopped to watch, too. After a pause, the tall skater stops, kicks his board vertical and carries it with him to the fallen bike, then lays it on the ground. He straddles the bike, clamping the front wheel and fork between his knees and twists the handlebars. Adjusts it again, then gives the bike to the kid.

As I watch this, I figure the tall man and the kid are related; maybe it’s a whole family, here in the park having fun on wheels. The man demonstrates the twist, points something out on the bike frame, and the kid listens, then nods. Then the man flips his skateboard upright and glides away, following the other two teens, as the three glide north toward the boulevard. The smaller boy mounts the bike, then pedals back toward the playground.

No connection, then; just one guy helping another. The brotherhood of sport.


RossK said...

Hey g.--

Realize it's a little late, but given your Christmas tradition 'round here, thought you might like...



smalltownme said...

Beautiful. I dislike our "strangers are dangerous" society when really, people are mostly good. What a good example!

Kizz at 117 Hudson said...

I love seeing interactions like that!

cactus petunia said...

That was sweet. Love seeing neighborly behavior like that. People ARE mostly good!