Bright yellow, orange and red leaves chase each other across the empty basketball court, doing cartwheels, flipping like autumn cheerleaders.
In the distance, a lonely bagpipe sounds his mating call; hipsters busking in the bushes carry on unmoved.
It's all perfectly normal.
A dad lights a rocket. It shoots 20-30-40 feet in the air. Two little boys at his feet ballet-dance for joy, eyes to the sky, running to catch the capsule upon re-entry. Giggling all the way back, they shout, "Again daddy! Again!"
Meanwhile, tennis players trade shots and friendly banter over unforced errors. Dogs run loose beyond constraints of their owner's lead, seemingly freed for the first time (like dogs seem to do).
Couples with strollers pep-step the field, talking about the busyness of fall festivities, finances, and family dysfunctions.
The sun shines on it all. The leaves continue raining down, joining the dance, finding partners, carpeting the forest floor.
I sit on the park bench, between breathes and heartbeats, letting autumn sink into my blood and bones, drinking in its fading depth and beauty.