The sun brought out a multitude of people to Golden Gate Park this weekend. Families, runners, dog walkers, lovers, and children filled the meadows, laying out blankets to sit in the sun. On a wooden bench a little off the beaten path in a thicket of trees and bushes, an old woman sat feeding pigeons. She was bundled up from head to toe almost as if she were expecting snow. Her white knit hat had some light beading on it that caught the sun’s light whenever a beam made its way through the overhanging trees. Her handbag was plain and practical but seemed to match her gloves and a scarf. She seemed quiet and peaceful.
The pigeons appeared incredibly grateful for the old woman’s breadcrumbs, pecking and scuttling about wildly at her feet. Their attention seemed welcomed, however. The woman never looked flustered by their advances. She just tossed more crumbs out in front of her. The birds came and went, alighting quickly but always appearing to return with more hungry comrades. At one point there must have been almost 15. The old woman kept to her post.
Still, as with most wonderful things that come to an end, she eventually depleted her rations of breadcrumbs. The pigeons scavenged at her feet for a while longer, ensuring no fallen crumb went uneaten. Then, slowly but surely, they began to fly off, perhaps in search of another generous soul. The woman’s eyes followed each bird as it made its way to somewhere else. When she lost sight of them, her gazed floated back to the remaining companions around her feet, and the process repeated as they too departed. When all the pigeons had gone, she sat for a moment longer before gingerly taking up her bag and proceeding slowly down a side path and out of the park.