It’s a blustery afternoon in Rushcutters Bay Park. The rustle of branches whipped by the wind is drowned out by the jangling of masts from the dozens of boats rocking in the bay.
There’s the thunk of tennis balls against racquets from school kids getting lessons on the courts. If a future Pat Rafter is on court, he’s hiding his skills well.
On the cricket oval a lone white-faced heron stalks for worms. On the nearby football fields a couple of guys practice their field goals, and a group plays a game of soccer.
A topless bloke swings a kettlebell above his head, oblivious or impervious to the unseasonably low temperature, as he stares out to the water. Couples jog along the shoreline.
At a workout station built with timber logs and steel bars, people too savvy to pay for a gym memberships do dips, chin ups, and push ups. No one bothers with that step-up apparatus.
Apartment dwellers take their cruelly cooped-up dogs for a short walk outside, so they don’t shit on the carpet inside (the dogs, that is). There are well-groomed huskies, wheezing pugs, and overfed sausage dogs whose bellies scrape the ground.
At the foot of the sandstone staircase that leads to Elizabeth Bay, someone has set up a mattress for the night ahead. A jogger passes the body curled beneath a doona, then goes back and asks the sleeper if they are alright. A woman, still under the covers, yells that she’s fine, then asks if the good Samaritan has any change. He doesn’t.
The well-trained dogs pay the woman no heed. They don’t bark or chase one another. They just sniff each-others’ arses in silence.