There are places that are more than a whereabout. Some places are memories or markers or junctures or triggers.
The ancient and huge porch at East Potomac Park is not a place of thought. It is a place of is. I sit at the more yellow than orange but almost brown recycled composite plastic picnic table and look at all the green in front of me until it shifts to a glowing cerulean. It’s late afternoon glow.
My back is to the clubhouse and grill. Two imposing pillars, like ancient cement deities from a long forgotten story, frame the scene in front of me. The first hole on the red course is on the left, where people without either time or skill play. On the right is the sixth or seventh hole on the Blue course. I am not sure since this is a course that real golfers play. It’s a full eighteen holes. I usually play the course for the skilless or, when I’m feeling cocky, I fail more fully on the 9-hole White course.
Yes, there are three courses and they are red, white and blue. On the fifth hole on the red course, you can drive right to the Washington Monument. Well, at least in that direction. It’s Washington, D.C., urban golf.
The sun forced itself into my coarsely green-painted wooden stall as I swing through my Sunday rosary. I set up mysteries of five balls. These are glorious mysteries. I concentrate on the invocation and the alignment. I swing with fervor and sometimes even abandon. I flail and fail. I work on grace as I set the next five. The sun advances into my cave, lighting it up and heating it up. I step into the sunny stream, condensation on my skin.
I use the same club for this entire service. I concentrate on keeping my left shoulder down and rotating from my core. I focus, too, on how I intertwine my hands and how I hinge my right wrist. I shut down other distractions to deliberate on these few efforts. I try to repeat when I swing well, and adjust when I swing less well. I am not frustrated. I am at peace.
I return to the big porch guarded by the forgotten gods. I’m filled with contentment and joy. A bird sits on my table and I toss her a french fry, sharing my treasure and pleasure in the day. Blessings.