Early Sunday afternoon I sit on a bench by the fountain, my face brushed by its windblown mist as I eat a hamburger.
It's one of the best kept secrets of the city: a small rose garden crackling with bumblebees.
It feels like late summer here in the Ramble. The air in the early evening is heavy and warm; the trees look about as full and green as they'll ever get. I find a quiet place where the path slopes down to the water. Long-stemmed purple flowers grow there, and the light reflecting off the lake shimmers on the tree trunks. It's a deep gold early evening light that soaks into everything.
From the sidewalk they look like odd modern sculptures in metal or harsh plastic. Just as I'm about to walk by, it hits me: they're game pieces. Game pieces as big as people. I climb the steps to the sunlit plaza where they're displayed, among them chess pawns and the wheelbarrow from Monopoly.
They've invented a game where I'm a visitor at a museum who can't help but touch everything that's on display. As a punishment I'm to be repeatedly shot at with plastic space commando guns and dragged into a jail cell from which I will have to break out, so that I may go to the museum again and repeat the process.
It's an operatic evening. I'm not at the opera myself, but I do walk across a curving stone bridge that looks like it could be a prop for a soprano to stand on and sing. Then I go by the opera house when it's darker. The fountain lights are on, and the windows are golden.
At the end of the pier, the river feels like an ocean. All around us are boats, sunlight, and sky, water that doesn't seem to have an end in either direction.