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October 17, 2000

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The leaves are so pretty floating over a backed-up sewer. A worker runs a long aluminum snake down the hole in a fight against trees whose roots choke pipes through which rain seeks the sea. All they want is a drink, the soil around them contaminated long ago so people could have heat. The park will soon be closed for six months while they dig it all up and dump it in somebody else's backyard. There's nothing slipperier than wet leaves but we skated the trail anyway to a sparsely attended Nader rally at U Dub's Red Square. The political climate is pretty polluted, too, and all the people who spoke wanted was a chance to breathe. There might have been as many people just parked in the gasworks lot--the Coca Cola and utility trucks, teenagers smoking in an old Camaro, a man turning his sorrow over in the car next to Andi's Toyota. They all come here for a moment of peace, to look at the views or catch a lunchbreak sleep. A woman, impatient for beauty, reaches up and plucks a leaf.