Three teenagers are sitting on a bench, arms around each other, looking for the moon in a daytime sky.
The silence on the path isn't true silence. The trees are bristling, and animals are scraping unseen against dirt. My feet are crunching on loose rock. The silence is the absence of human voice.
People who tell me to "be myself" often mean "be a self that I approve of and am comfortable with."
When I read beneath the green branches, bugs fall onto my book like extra punctuation.
In part because it's dwarfed by a flag pole, one gets the sense that the old stone building, crouched on the ground, has a small room in it with a door, and that this door opens to a flight of stairs that takes you miles below the city.
Wedding photos in the park - the bride's train sweeping over fallen green leaves.
The shop, dark as a cavern, smells of soap and herbs.
A picnic by the sundial and the ferns, as the sprinkler hisses in a far corner of the lawn.
The dog breaks away from his owner, trots up the steps of the church, leash trailing behind him, until he's almost at the cloister garden. He has scented rich possibilities there, but his owner catches up with him before he can investigate.
Foxgloves in an intimate embrace with a chain link fence.
An old lady mans the door of a historic home, keeping it locked until visitors have knocked and wriggled the doorknob enough to satisfy her. When she opens the door, they're almost always turning away or looking around for a sign confirming the house's visiting hours. "What are you doing?" she barks. "Get in here. Pay the fee."
Graffiti and historic grandeur, pushy weeds and trees that look like they'd survive the last people on the island.
You never know what you'll learn from the stranger greeting you, the fascinating life story masked by a polite demeanor.
Some of them want to make art of dirt. But they do it without wanting to get dirty or dwell on disturbing thoughts. They take a photo of some gritty scene or smear something on a painting, but it's done gingerly, like they immediately squirted hand sanitizer on themselves or retreated to a skyscraper atrium for imported coffee among cool plants.