Cooling off at the Park

LOOKING for a place to cool off and escape from the humid confines of the house drove me and my roommate to this lagoon a few meters beyond the Bell Tower at American Memorial Park on Saturday afternoon.

There’s nothing really spectacular about this place. I’ve been there countless times and taken hundreds of photos in the past three years, except that when we arrived there, I looked at the place with new eyes. The tide was out, and the lagoon was almost dried out.

My roommate immediately headed for a cement bench under the trees while I headed toward the dried out portion of the lagoon and ventured as near to the water as I can, enjoying the tranquility and peace. Watching small crabs scurrying to their holes and trying in vain to capture them on lens was an impossible feat which kept me occupied for the next half hour.

A solitary fisherman was throwing his line in the water a few meters from where I was kneeling in the sand, casting surreptitious glances at me each time I took a stolen shot at him while waiting for fish to eat his bait.

The tide was slowly coming in, and the sun was getting low in the horizon. Reflected in the calm waters was a spectacular profusion of colors—the skies turning into a reddish-orange haze, the blossoming flame trees, and the gently swaying yachts moored at the dock was a photographer’s dream.

Forgetting the fisherman, my fingers got busy with the shutter as I tried to capture the spectacular view before me. Some minutes and a splash later, I turned and caught the fisherman haul in a squirming, medium-size fish from his pole, in time to capture it all in the lens.

Soon, it was getting dark and water had trickled back filling almost half of the lagoon. Loud music and laughter started to pour out from one of the yachts signaling the start of a party at the Smiling Cove, shattering the tranquility I was enjoying earlier.

I packed my gear and found my roommate on his knees absorbed in a school of small fish trapped in a pool of water under the bridge.

If you have stayed here for several decades or most of your life, you may have taken what nature offers for granted and say that “it has always been and will always be there” but try to get out sometime and you will get some pleasant surprises.

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