sketchbook: Monday 5 September 2011

MON 5 SEP 2011 ca. 1:00 pm “LITTLE” CATES PARK

It’s a shipping lane for private pleasure craft: the throb of motors as launches surge purposefully through the blue, active water. Their wash beats on the narrow, high-tide beach, striking the shore in syncopation, out of phase. Farther out, brick-colored freighters ride silently at anchor.

A man strokes by upright on his faddish paddleboard, 30 meters offshore. A gull flaps in a beeline closer in, heading maybe for the concession stand.

Not many people at this park, which must be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Park benches, 3 of them, look out on the water from right above the beach. The northernmost one is entirely in the shade of two busily spreading maples. A young man and young woman sit on it, their backs to us, each with left leg slung over right knee, reading. The man, olive-skinned in a smoke-gray T-shirt, seems to have some kind of illuminated tablet, glowing blue and smaller than an iPad. The woman, grooming an eyebrow with her little finger as she reads, appears to have a book.

Another bench, the one nearest our blanket, also supports a young couple, but these are cyclists with their bikes propped against the back of the bench and their helmets on—his white, hers black. Two children’s bikes are also nearby, one on its stand, the other on its side. They belong to little blonde girls wearing little cami-style tops and black cycling shorts.

Kayakers are paddling by in opposite directions; one pair drifts offshore in their coral-colored craft.

More people come, unloading their cars and making like homesteaders for unclaimed ground, as we have done. The park itself is a great sloping lawn with playground and trees, but people want to set up by the shore.

The reading couple have packed up and now stalk away.

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