The man who waters the grass for the bowlers, notices me reading a sign. It has an image of a crow and says, "Don't worry. I'm not real". He explains to me that he has to use a decoy to scare away critters. In order for it to work, he must put the decoy on its back. This results in the park getting many phone calls about a dead or injured bird. Now there is a sign for the humans, but the other animals still fall for the ruse.
Around the bend, I enter the Aids Memorial Grove. It is absolutely stunning, a tribute to those who left us too soon. The plants are lush and green, even more so than many other areas of the park. The strength of spirit of those that are honored here is palpable. The care with which it was designed, and nurtured is immense. This is a sacred place. Hearts are mended here.
I go to see the dahlias, but it may be too soon. They are few and far between, and half of them are missing. Maybe it is early or maybe their tending was lost to quarantining gardeners. I admire a few lonely blooms. Behind me, a man in business attire sits on a bench, listening to heavy metal music that is trapped inside his backpack.
At the Conservatory of Flowers, a man wearing red, white and blue pants, and an absurdly quaffed head of hair, aggressively throws rocks. He intends to break the glass, but the glass is now wood. In his frustration, he bends and weaves wildly and grabs more rocks. I want to intervene, but I don't. He talks to the wind and traipses on.
From the nearby tunnel comes the sound of live music. I follow it and see a group of men playing. The tunnel amplifies the sound, and I stand in the middle listening. The walls are covered with various messages of past and present. I place money in the hat and hope to hear more, but the men soon pause to put away their instruments.
Golden Gate Park is the garden, playground, gym and sanctuary of so many locals and tourists alike. It will always be a place of refuge for me. It is not as if I don't see its troubled bits; it is just that the shiny bits shine brighter for me.