She likes to sit under the bridge after her appointments, down by the canal. The benches at the corner are a little too breezy, she brings a cardigan when she remembers. It’s right by the trail, the one that weaves through half the city, along the waterfront, through the industrial and suburban outskirts.
She sits facing the water. She likes how the curve of the worn wooden bench feels beneath her. Cyclists whiz behind, along the paved path; she likes the sound of the spokes on the wheels lightly clicking as they pedal by. Sometimes there’s a rollerblader, a scooter. She hears the footfalls of joggers’ shoes, light conversation of two coworkers strolling on a lunch break.
Across the way are small houseboats, some modern, some quaint, some barges. Kayakers and yachts pass under the steel bridge. When the big boats glide by she can hear their engines whirring, working hard to pull them along. A small fishing dingy passes and she thinks about how it’s dwarfed by the steely grandeur of the bridge, rusted sheets of metal bolted in, criss-crossed throughout.
The locks are further down, she hasn’t been for years. She took the kids once, should take them again. It’s a marvel, really: all that water rising up, draining down. Carrying the fish, the seaweed, the boaters along with it. Each year the salmon run brings a viewing crowd to the locks; it’s a destination.
She hears the traffic on the bridge overhead and the next bridge down. Today the birdsong is bright and clear, outshines the highway traffic. It’s not rush hour, but still, it’s perplexing, that nature would reign in this way.
She likes to see the American flags hung on the sail boats; a bolt of red, white and navy set against the creamy hull, the bluebird sky. She likes to see the freeway across the lake, all the cars gleaming in the sunlight and wonder: where are they going, where have they been? She likes to consider the seagulls gliding overhead, hovering on the wind; sometimes they’ll suddenly dive or take off, as if they just remembered someplace they need to be.