Thanksgiving Day. The morning was bright, fair and breezy and today, I decided, was a great day to slow down, head to the park and pass the time with drawing and relaxing. After packing a bag and my camera, I set off to Alpine Groves, a historic park and one of my favorite spots for unwinding.
Upon driving through the open gates, I spotted joggers racing each other on the sidewalk and children playing in either open spaces or in designated playing areas. Older couples were also present and they simply lounged on swing benches discussing various topics I couldn’t make out clearly. I scouted out a quiet spot behind the newly renovated farmhouse and began a new drawing.
A few times I was distracted by a loud but persistent buzzing nearby, but I couldn’t decide if it was a fly or a bumblebee. Time passed and I stretched after finishing the last few leaves of the drawing subject. Packing up everything once more, I spotted a lone swinging bench near a corner of the park and rested my body in the metal frame. An audible squeak was heard each time I moved to swing it back and forth.
The chatter from other visitors fell silent for a moment and my mind wandered off to how everyone else celebrated this holiday. I preferred a quiet, serene celebration rather than one littered with rushed food preparation and forced conversation with people I didn’t know, didn’t like or didn’t care for. Being by myself made me realize that leading a quiet life is what I aim for, even during national holidays like today. I sighed and stared out towards the calm waters of the St. Johns river.
* * *
Walking around, I spotted an opening past an installed wooden gate. Brushing past it and pushing through the branches, I discovered a clear view of the river and three docks that stretched out towards the river’s center. Three massive trees were uprooted completely and slumped over other nearby trees in the water. Judging from the many roots I saw, the trees were definitely elderly after many years of living near the park.
Looking out onto the waters, I spotted several fish leaping out and falling back beneath the surface. A loud plop was heard each time and I smiled at how cool it was seeing such a sight for the first time.
The waves from the river gently crashed against the shore and listening to them made my mind wander once more. Yes, this is how it was meant to be. This is how a famous holiday should be celebrated.