There are few places more choked full of sensory overload than University Park on a sunny day. The park is located in South Eugene on 24th street, and the dozen-block walk from campus consists of nothing worse than a few hills when it’s not raining sideways. The park caters to almost every recreational activity; it included seesaws, basketball courts, a baseball field, jungle gym, swings, a merry-go-round, and so much more. More houses in south Eugene are inhabited by families than students, so it was only appropriate that the park was riddled with children.
About a dozen older boys were playing basketball, and the periodic sounds of a dribbling ball, the reverberation of the rim, and the squeak of tennis shoes filled the park. The young children were also screaming and giggling as they chased each other through the jungle gym’s maze of steel. The intersection of nature and machine was also audible, as the harmony of chirping birds was occasionally interrupted by a revving car engine driving on 24th street. Somewhere in the distance a variety of dogs were barking, perhaps at each other. In other words, the park was filled with the murmur of a casual, sunny afternoon.
In terms of color, the artificial blues, oranges, and yellows of the bright park equipment was sandwiched between a massive cloudy blue sky and a rolling hill of green grass. At this time of year, the yellows, browns, and oranges of the deciduous trees on the park’s periphery surround it in a haze of color, and the leaves that have already fallen paint the lawn. A family appears to be having a picnic under what looks like an oak, and their youngest member seems infatuated with the illustrious leaves.
The basketball game seems to be getting heated now as the yells and grunts of the players become more audible:
“Yo yo pass it over”
“Jay! Jay! I got him for you”
“Are you all ready for this? Watch out!”
“Man I gotta call a personal foul. This is bullshit!”
The game stops for a second to give the victim his two shots, and quickly resumes. The final score is reached to the disappointed exclamations of one team, and players on the bench rotate in for a new game.
Two young girls are running across the park up the hill towards 23rd street, and they proceed to lie down sideways and start to roll back down the hill. Squeamish giggles can be heard as they rotate and end up at the bottom, only to climb back up and repeat the process. After a while they are called back by their mothers and the fun is over. The little children leave the park in a row of twos, and a heavier silence sets in. The sun is setting and soon the temperature will drop. I am one of the last to leave such a peaceful and carefree place.