The emerald canopy of leaves shimmers, sunlight reflecting off of it as if the leaves were iridescent fish scales. This vivacious display of nature sprouts forth from a bland concrete building, where obnoxious orange balconies jut forth, competing for attention with the icy glass windows. As if clutching desperately onto the last traces of summer, lush green vines crawl up haphazardly the featureless walls of the Freshii restaurant. Blending into the background, the splashing fountain sounds gentle, as the sound of the white water steadily falling back into the fountain remains constant. The scene is serene.

The low rumbling and whirring of mechanical sounds start abruptly, disrupting the serenity of the gentrified town. Resembling a robotic dinosaur, the red head of a crane protrudes from behind the glass building at a perfect 45-degree angle. The strange geometry contrasts against the fluffy, amorphous sea of clouds behind it.

The people walk on, unaware or indifferent. Sharply dressed in a grey suit, a man strides across the fountain square, a confident bounce in his walk. He strokes his ginger beard and pulls on his earphones; suddenly, he leans to the side and spits on the ground.

Behind him, a teenager in a grey hoodie and dark jeans sprints across the Davis and Sherman intersection with his friend while the pedestrian light is red. His bright rumpled shirt underneath sticks out the back of his hoodie, revealing a feeling of casual youthfulness and vitality.

Crossing through the square, a man carrying an inconspicuous brown package strolls by. Dressed in a white hoodie, black sweatpants, and tennis shoes, he exudes insouciance, as a vague smile dances on his lips. He skips across the black grates under the trees. Tiny yellow leaves, reminders of autumn’s arrival, are spread everywhere — on the ground, in the grates, over the benches. A bird pecks rapidly at the remains of a Luna chocolate peppermint stick. It flies away as a young couple dressed in similar outfits — beige sweaters and denim blue jeans — march in sync. Sitting by the fountain, a man looks down at his phone through his glasses. Tufts of white hair circling his bald spot betray his age.

Amid the people hurrying to get from one place to another, one is stationary, sitting between the rust-colored memorial columns. A bulky hat sits askew on his bowed head, threatening to fall off at any second. In his right hand dangles a cigarette, the wispy smoke dispersing lazily in the breeze. For a moment, he radiates the warm feeling of peace.

This was written as an observation assignment for JOUR 201–1: Reporting and Writing, which I took in the fall of 2016.