prose sketch: picnic in Cates Park

Sun. 30 Jun 2013 ca. noon Cates Park

A perfect summer day on the great sloping lawn of “little” Cates. Kimmie lies prone with A Game of Thrones on our yellow blanket while boat engines chew aggressively at the water of Indian Arm. Now a seaplane growls low overhead: the air of this beautiful place trembles with engines. Our blanket is laid partly in the shade of a birch-tree; other trees rise full, mature, untrimmed: maples mostly.

A cadre of little children have run into one of the low portals into the ancient incinerator that was already a derelict ruin when Mara and I did the same thing nearly 50 years ago. We called it the Giants’ Castle. It was choked with brambles then but seems to be cleared inside now. Great trees hem the low, lichen-fogged ring of broken concrete.

The sky is blue with no trace of a cloud. Off to my left one family has set up a tent-pavilion on four poles; they commune on chairs in its dark shade like nomads. Above and beyond them: the tennis courts, enclosed in green chainlink and half-shaded by forest. A quieter group plays there now—the faint voices of girls and the gentle pock of ball-hits. The young men there before did much more high-spirited hollering.

Across the greenish water: the forested humps of Belcarra, and beyond those a curtain-wall of mountains marching north from Coquitlam, also all forested.

What is that bird singing cheerfully in the tree in front of me?

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