A day in the life of the Denver City Park

The sun rises.

Okay. Here I am in Denver. That would be me pulling hard on the thin air after coming from the gently rolling hills of Iowa. Let’s see, I’ve tried every type of coffee shop. Wonderful. I’ve eaten all sorts of hot and spicy foods. A league of their own. I’ve spent a day up in the mountains. How can it be warm while walking in a foot of snow? And now I have a day free. What to do?

How about the Denver City Park?

8:00 a.m. The Canadian geese fly low and flat across the still icy pond. A perfect formation. Their large wings beat with a slow percussive thump like the air compressor at the auto garage. They turn and circle and talk loudly to each other. Amazing. But I see the mess of goose poop that the few walkers and runners are dancing around. This is one of those dog/cat or cow/bird videos of mixed species cohabitation. I bet this is a relationship still under negotiations.

9:00 a.m. A decision is made by someone. The geese circle one more time and begin their noisy descent into the pond. Wheels down. Flaps turned vertical. Safety light flashing. Lower, lower, lower . . . a gentle plop. And they immediately preen their wings as if they never left.

I find a bench. The perforated metal already hot from the sun. A breeze coming off the water now blowing over the metal plate in the concrete at the foot of the bench. “In memory of . . .”

10:00 a.m. The early morning runners and bikers finish their Very Serious business. Moms appear walking baby strollers — or jogging with lifelines attached to three-wheeled contraptions. Ponytails seem to be the fashion. Eyes forward. Ears budded up. Sun shining down. There will be no dilly-dallying today.

They all ignore me, a single old man sitting in the park. I get it. I would ignore me too. A public bench in the big city can be the repository of many an unsavory character. Isn’t that what our parents’ warned as they put newspapers down on the suspect benches before our innocent behinds could become contaminated?

Of course I smile at everyone. Why not? I already have a contaminated behind.

12:00 noon. The geese leave as the lunchtime crowd appears. Phones are everywhere. Lunch is not a time to be disconnected. That conversation that waited all morning can happen at last. “Last night’s party was amazing.” “Bill did what at dinner?” “My mother called again, can you believe it.” “Why aren’t these pants fitting better?” “At last those shoes are on sale.” “Is that a good investment?” “Did she really say that?” “Did he really do that?”

I totally understand wanting to connect with others. Although it is a little odd to witness all these people walking and talking alone. A new form of isolation perhaps. But today I belong to the Disconnected. With no phone in hand, I am left to wander City Park on real time. But, rest assured, I will pick up my iPhone at the end of the day, then I too can leave the ranks of the disconnected for the isolation of the connected. Great.

1:00 p.m. The sun shines hot. The ice on the pond begins to break off and drift just below the surface. Isn’t that how the Titanic went down? The hidden iceberg?
Fortunately, tragedy will be limited to that unsuspecting goose who hits the ice like a snowboarder and skids right up to the land. Perhaps that will be the latest thing at the Winter Olympics — goose-boarding.

3:00 p.m. A faint roar echoes across the park. A lion’s roar. It comes from the zoo . . . hopefully.

I can’t resist a visit.

Wow. There’s lions and hippos and rhinoceroses and elephants and tigers. Goodness. But look at those seals. Pushing, shoving, hugging, barking. Clearly teenagers out of control and having the time of their lives. I can hear my mom yelling from the kitchen: “Now, don’t get wet!”

5:00 p.m. Believe it or not, time to head home. Back to the interior of the park I go. The night shadows are already stretching out from the base of the trees, filling in all the snow-flattened brown grass with darkness. So, I dodge the goose poop through the deepening darkness anxious to get home.

Oops, I feel a soft squish under foot.

And the sun sets.




4 thoughts on “A day in the life of the Denver City Park

  1. Great, as usual, and beautiful pictures.

    BTW, I’m a “Titanic” nut; have always been fascinated with her since I was a kid (yes, I was a kid many years ago…).

  2. Joe,
    Your posting reminds me of a visit that we had in Verona, Italy several years ago. Our local guide was amazed that Americans were constantly on the go. Asked what she would do with a few free hours she replied that she would be happy to sit in a park and just observe.
    Maybe we all need more time to “smell the coffee,” observe the world and reflect.
    The final photograph was an apt conclusion to a special day.

  3. The timeline format was nice and fit the subject matter. It made the point that you were immersing yourself in the experience. Photos are a wonderful addition.

    Wherever you go, there you are. – Carl Franz

  4. We used to have a kid in college there but lo and behold, she graduated and moved to Iowa and we are sad/not sad. You present a very nice slice of a Denver day. We had some moments just like yours outside of the Natural History Museum, sitting in the sun. Taking selfies with Brian of my hair without humidity, working on a high altitude tan. We enjoyed that park on many occasions and you caught the Denver momentum exactly right. It is purposeful. Suddenly you see yourself the way you would look if you owned a kayak, still had your downhill skis, and planned a hike at Red Rocks this coming Saturday. And then you remember that your last 10k was thirty years ago and you settle back onto your bench, watching the sun start to dip.

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