Newly married and newly employed, I once came here to pray, to strum my guitar, to find a bit of peace to start the day, to start what was my new life. The sun was usually just getting up and I was alone except for the joggers on the path behind me or the fishermen minding their business yards away.
Sure there were cars not far away, with unhappy people going down Northwest Highway toward dreaded jobs. I was putting off going to mine. Yes, there were planes going over every few minutes, drowning out the honking ducks, squawking grackles, and the occasional flopping fish.
They all had somewhere to be. I was trying to be somewhere.
Here began my fear of the juxtaposition of nature and the city, or perhaps my fascination with the construction of a kind of nature in the city.
Some twenty-five years later, I’m at Bachman Lake again, killing time. Trying to enjoy the quiet. I read a little at a picnic table, sipping ice tea as young mothers and fathers enjoyed their children at a playground situated between my seat and the parking lot. A squirrel, clearly irritated by my presence, clambered up and down the tree shading me. A duck tried to go under the table. I nervously shooed it away.
I took to a bench near the water’s edge and tried to look at the lake, drink in the peace of its slow movement. I noticed an old Moscovy pretending to hide in the rushes nearby. His red, bumpy face gave him away, but I was not interested in him. I heard young, yellow grasshoppers snapping the short blades behind me and smiled at their play. I heard splashes, but when I turned toward them, all I could see were the ripples.
No doubt there were snakes. Somewhere. Near the bank, in the grass, perhaps on the other side of the tree. I did not see them, and I am glad. I’d like to think God, knowing my fears, would have warned me. That I did not see one of them may mean God protected them.
I tried to look at the water. But I could not keep my eyes away from the houses on the other side, or the businesses, stone silent, but in my mind buzzing and hissing with activity. I couldn’t stop watching the airplanes nosily descend. Sometimes I thought of my father, who worked on planes. Sometimes I thought of my first job at Love Field. I tried, dear Lord, to just look at the lake and not think at all.
I should have talked to You. Or at least made an effort to listen.
After all these years, I’ve still got somewhere (new now) to be. I have still got someone to be.