at rest during the steep ascent of the Giant John trail, which will of course tend to get your shoes a little sandy and perhaps mucked up with briny clay
Here are a couple pictures from a week ago (tomorrow) when the boys and I explored the beach at Discovery Park. This was Oliver’s first mostly-unassisted descent and ascent of the Giant John trail (i helped him on the Double Doozy Variation, a narrow passageway just wide enough for a large adult to squeeze through but which shall also require stepping one foot in front of the other with a degree of coordination through an upward-sloping ten inch wide trench on hard sand which offers little purchase). That description did not make one iota of sense, did it? At any rate, Adam and I did the Double Doozy Variation last weekend (Friday night) with Uncle Eric after having walked through the woods on the regular trail down to the south beach of the park and Adam just couldn’t stop crowing about it to Oliver and so Oliver had the idea of doing the Double Doozy, firmly implanted in his head. As a condition of going down-and-up the Giant John trail I required Adam to help Oliver as needed and he more or less did an adequate job thus freeing me to shoot a little. Anecdotally-speaking, it seems there are fewer nettles (lotsa blackberry, still) pathside this season but significantly more beer bottles and scattered piles of garbage. The past couple years I’ve started getting the hunch more regular joes are opting for the shortcut down to the beach. We typically only use the Giant John trail for minus tides. The blackened bonfire rings from the high school-and-college set have always been in evidence but it’s sad to see the noticeable uptick in litter. It was a laid-back holiday weekend (U.S. Memorial Day) for us, we stayed home. The boys’ mother took them to the Folklife Festival this morning, I opted out because I wasn’t feeling very folksy and also I wanted to do a little writing and weeding. Yesterday we bussed to the south end of the Central Area to show big brother where he’ll probably attend school next year (he qualified for the Advanced Smarties Program). Most of all he was eager to evaluate the playground: Passing marks- the left-out soccer balls and jump rope figured to help. After a fairly long walk through leafy neighborhoods struggling to survive the newest onslaught of highly-educated liberal white people in search of the good life, we let the boys bounce on the high jump and pole vault mats at Garfield High School but this cost us dearly as we helplessly watched the #48 rumble past on 23rd. We sat in the grass by Medgar Evers Pool (named for the black civil rights activist from Mississippi) to wait for the next bus due approximately the following century owing to the Sunday bus schedule. The lunchtime smells of Ezell’s fried chicken taunted us. The boys were more aggravating than usual with their nonstop hazardous climbing of the concrete walls of the pool building, which resembles an odd cross between a skateboard park and bomb shelter. The night before last before dinner, Adam and I tossed the frisbee around in Volunteer Park and he met his goal of 50 catches. Well, last night he caught it a HUNDRED times so I authorized several episodes of Thundercats into the late evening. The frisbee biz is extra satisfying to me because thus far we haven’t dabbled much with baseball or football throwing, which I’ve been fearing makes me a lazy, unAmerican dad (i specialize in books). A few weeks ago we tried tossed the baseball around in the Arboretum (we chose a meadow in the woods so no one would see if Adam got hit in the face by the ball) but since my old glove has a bad hole in the webbing and Adam was using his mom’s never-broken in leather softball glove from twenty years ago (it functioned more as a hockey goalie protector) things got dicey and we gave up after awhile to go for a long walk instead. I tried in vain to explain the ins-and-outs of the American and National Leagues in baseball and the playoff system and interleague play and the more I went on the more frustrated I became at how dumb Major League Baseball was to move everything around so we dropped the subject after a pee behind the Japanese Garden and rendezvoused with little brother back at Washington Park Playfield, where the boys ran around and hit each other with sticks. This is Oliver on the right: Contemplative and chocolate-faced halfway up the Giant John trail. As he is maddeningly stubborn and hard-drivingly independent, climbing up a towering hill of sand is right up his alley. Thank you for visiting dear readers. I sincerely apologize for the lack of readability and excitement this evening. These pictures have been sitting around in a draft for several days all by themselves and I resolved to not move forward without publishing something about them…. anything. The main thing I wanted to leave you with is that the Giant John trail is pretty sandy.