Monday column: The Marvel of the Empty Park

Opinion Sunday 18/February/2024 20:58 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: The Marvel of the Empty Park

I would not have noticed it if it had not been for the slight wind that was blowing over the top of a large thorny tree.  

It was the only rose in the bush and it was doing its best to hold on against the strength of the wind. I braked my car but the driver behind me did not expect it and honked angrily at me.

I raised my hand from the window to apologise and parked the car safely.

I walked through the gate of the public park and found a bench and sat on it. At that time of the day, I was the only one inside there. It was eleven in the morning and most of the people were in their offices or busy with their routines.

I was lucky because the bench I was sitting on was only a few meters from the rose. I took a photo of the red rose from different angles. I put the phone down and admired it. Then a rustle from the bush behind me took away my intense concentration.

I looked and saw a black and white cat standing there. I thought amusingly that the beautiful rose had another admirer. It was not another human but an animal who had nothing better to do like I was.

The cat sniffed at my feet then rubbed itself on my legs. I patted its back and it looked at me straight on my eyes. I stroked its head. The cat purred and closed its eyes to enjoy the attention. Then a loud noise from the road made by the engine of a passing truck made the cat jump.

It ran back to the bush. I now returned my gaze at the rose. It was still swaying from the slight force of the wind. I fought the impulse of walking towards the flower and pluck it out. But then another admirer flew from nowhere and started making a circle around the rose. It was a large yellow butterfly.

It had all the intention of landing on it but the wind made it difficult for the butterfly to land. So I leaned back to watch the display. I watched the colours of three different species moving in the air. The petals of the rose were red, the leaves of the bush were green and the butterfly was yellow.

I felt lucky because I did not have to pay for the entertainment. To add to the magic of the moment, a sparrow flew in and landed on a branch of a tree just a few meters away on my left. It started chirping noisily. It made the cat come out of the bush. The animal looked at the bird. I knew what was in its mind. It was a meal but there was no way the cat could crawl up there and get it.

I clapped noisily and the bird flew away. The cat did not like it and stared at me. I clapped again and it quickly went back into the bush. When I looked back at the rose, the butterfly had given up landing on it. It was gone but the wind was still ruffling up the red petals.
Minutes later, I had enough of the marvels of the empty park but I felt like I should give it the last bow before walking out.