Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Week in Seven Words #545

This covers the week of 6/28/20 - 7/4/20.

These days, I'm playing more Scrabble than I have in years. In one game, my opponent creates four seven-letter words. In another game, a different opponent creates two. I'm playing against people who treat Scrabble as a serious pursuit. More than a mere game, it is, at times, a primal conflict.

I'm trying to find my way through a beautifully wooded part of the park. There aren't many paths, and I'm sure I know where I'm going, but each time I try to end the walk at a pond, I end up on the edges of a baseball field. The woods keep delivering me to baseball, and I don't even like the sport.

Dead-eyed people in dusty, faintly pretty parks. A small fountain protests the heat.

Throughout the day, there's little evidence of celebration. No flags in windows, and people aren't dressed in red, white, and blue. The one exception is a jogger in shorts that stretch the American flag across his posterior. The first time the day feels celebratory is at night, during a TV broadcast of fireworks – shimmering bursts of liquid color.

Our walk has earned us front-row seats to massive algae growth. 

For the first time in months, I set foot in a bookstore. The store is mostly empty, and I don't buy anything, but I like being able to walk around and touch the covers, read the jackets and blurbs. 

"You always think you're going to do something wrong," she tells me, and my reaction is torn between "Not always" and "Yeah, you have a point."

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Week in Seven Words #544

This covers the week of 6/21/20 - 6/27/20.

Now a regular part of our vocabulary.

The geese are fat brown pillows softening a rocky slope. 

Picnic tables, mulch paths, and rail fences. The scent of pine trees, heavy and delicious.

The dog is slow to warm up to the stranger but then reluctant to leave. He begins to welcome the goodness of those pats and scritches just as his owner starts tugging him away.

Among the many colors in the garden, the loveliest is the cerulean of the hydrangeas.

With only a slice of bread, a young boy brings a frothing mass of turtles to the side of the pond.

The sunset shifts colors. At one point, a bar of bright blue appears among duskier blues and oranges. The underside of the clouds are blushing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Week in Seven Words #543

This covers the week of 6/14/20 - 6/20/20.

The ducklings snap at dragonflies.

The perpetual cheeping of two chicks, one of them cupped in the careful hands of a preschooler.

I share one of my fears with them. Spoken aloud, it sounds ridiculous, overblown. There's a small chance of it becoming real, but I've taken those small odds and distorted them in my mental house of mirrors.

Fewer shops are boarded up, but Times Square is still barricaded. We stop to drink water near a couple of stone lions. They're guarding a library that admits no visitors now.

A distraught older woman tries to squeeze past a police barricade. Her doctor's office is on this street, and she has an appointment. The police don't let her pass. They give her convoluted directions for getting into the building from another street.

He looks like a poster for California tourism. Wearing swim shorts, a Hawaiian t-shirt, and reflective shades, he's sprawled out on a pool float shaped like an ice cream cone.

We've walked past this part of the park multiple times, and it's only now that we spot a small memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto. The heart of the memorial is a plaque flat on the ground.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Week in Seven Words #542

This covers the week of 6/7/20 - 6/13/20.

As protestors stream past and chant about defunding the police, two cops talk about their plans for the year. Thanksgiving comes up, and they wonder whether travel will be easier by then and whether restaurants will open up for indoor dining.

Two young women, both bony thin, compare notes on how they're hardly eating. They sound triumphant.

As we head deeper into the park, the chants from the protest fade and become a faint disturbance for the bike riders and people picnicking. 

A guy in a motorized chair travels on the twisting paths and wishes peace to everyone. Oldies play from a portable radio tucked by his shoulder.

The churn of turtles and fish in a dark pond. 

I'm in the grip of some chaotic feelings. They flood me.

On the way to a doctor's appointment. The subway still looks depleted. Streets usually churning with shoppers, tourists, and workers are mostly stripped of people. I spot a handful of pedestrians and a few security guards planted in front of buildings.