I had occasion to spend some time in one of the local county parks on Easter Sunday.
The park was mobbed – nearly every picnic table occupied, nearly every barbecue smoking. Many of the tables were decked in Easter-themed cloths and sported Easter baskets filled with colorful eggs, some real, some obviously plastic and prize-filled. We had arrived too late to see the family Easter egg hunts, but the treasure troves were on display on all sides.
Children chased each other to and fro through the woods, some girls still in flowery ruffled Easter finery they had probably worn to church, others in jeans and T-shirts. Boys wrestled, then broke apart laughing. Couples sat arm-in-arm on benches; a mother nursed her baby under a sheltering blanket. A multigenerational volleyball game was going on, with rather lax rules about the number of players and hits allowed on each side of the net.
We took a trail from a full parking lot through a redwood forest. I spotted violets, native iris, blackberry blossoms, daisies, poppies and half-a-dozen other native flowers tucked into the borders of the path. A couple of equestrians ambled by on shining bay horses, with walkers making room for them on every curve. Children who had been running along the path stood quietly, in awe of the beasts that loomed above them.
We ended our loop at a meadow where Frisbees, kites and drones filled the air. Mothers and sons were firing Nerf pellets at each other. Dads and daughters were carrying armloads of Styrofoam noodles to some unknown destination (no swimming pool in sight). A young man held a bubble wand up to the breeze, sending glistening rainbow globes across the lawn and into the trees. A couple of soccer games were in process, interrupted periodically as the ball escaped down a steep slope to the next level of picnics.
Only as we were leaving did my husband remark: not many blondes. Yes, he was right. There were not many people in the park whose hair color and skin color matched ours, whose family origins are from Northern Europe. Many of the happy picnickers may have had origins in Latin America, or China, or the Philippines, or the Pacific islands. But the scene felt American. All American.