The struts of schist that rise out of the soil in bulkheads are the bones of the Manhattan, visible in Central Park. They also make tension points for parents with small children who insist on climbing them. I wasn't going to let Nora climb down when I first got there, so she remained at the top, squatting and glaring at me where I stood at the bottom. Then it became clear to me that there was a path - sort of -and she could do it, and preventing her would mean thwarting her self discovery, so I gave it up and just followed her around the craggy heap like a goat mother, sometimes nearly pitching myself headfirst over the edge.
The block of schist was gray and black, some areas smooth as a whale's skin and others filled with chunks of quartz that resist erosion - either by the behinds of park goers, or rain, or the occasional grit strifling. Part of it stretched out into the lake where my son discovered that a dropped cheese puff is a challenging snack for a turtle that isn't used to especially buoyant food. Then the children bickered amongst themselves, some unable to stop feeding cheese puffs to the turtles, others deeply concerned about the inappropriate nutritional content and turtle longevity. When the rain picked up the kids were distracted and pitched umbrella camps between the exposed ribs of stone, but soon bickering over umbrella size called for a change of scenery.
A Catalpa tree on the walk over East had an unusual features - a 2 foot wide disk of concentric circles surrounded by a thick flange of grey bark. It looked like some sort rustic radar screen. It stopped us in our tracks and we awaited the beam that it seemed it would emit at any moment. In a hole underneath it, the kids stuck in their hands, pretending that they were being bitten by something that lived inside. Once yards away we could observe the long pods that cascade like haricots vert among the large heart shaped leaves.
Bethesda fountain gave me chills. I didn't realize that, in spite of incessant photo shoots, it is a global holy place, one of those transcendent hubs for world travelers. While my daughter circumambulated the fountain my son fished some money out of the water and later spent it at a candy store. I apologize for him, citizens of the city. I would have supervised him more carefully but the dangerously gorgeous violet shade of a lotus growing in the pool put me in a trance, and I noticed that even the hand of the angel of the water looks like it's readying to fish coins out of the fountain, but perhaps it's some other very small thing it reaches for. When I go back, I will repay the fountain. I had some garnet-red corn kernels in my pocket, a present form Ecuador, and I thought about tossing them in as an offering, but I found I couldn't part with them yet.