On weekdays, especially after 11 o' clock PM, the field behind North Bethesda Middle School is the most open, solitary location in the tidy suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. An eerie silence blankets the field and its surrounding residential streets. The field's isolation from everyday suburban life naturally suits its spacious, unlit expanse. The most-used entrance is a footpath that leads from the side farthest from the school. It travels alongside the field and eventual tennis courts to the front side of the school. This entrance opens up from the curved rim of Bulls Run Parkway, which was once actually a body of water, but is now a lengthy stretch of road and housing with a large island that divides the two lanes. Instead of flowing freely aboveground, the water is shuttled underground through a drainage pipe system that manages water from miles around. Bulls Run is significantly lower than the surrounding area. The field shares the Parkway's level of height and runoff problem; when it rains, the field becomes a murky swamp that many unfortunate students must navigate in order to reach home.
Snaking alongside the field, the footpath arches over a steep hill that overlooks the school's entire property. From its higher vantage point, it is easier to see that the field is divided into two parts. Just below the hill is a depressed area, containing a baseball diamond on the left and a soccer-sized field on the right. Beyond that section, the land slopes upward into a much larger field. This section of the field is used for lacrosse on the weekends. During sports use, cars line up and down the entrance on Bull's Run.
The only other major use of the field is by dog owners who converge on it to give their pets a run. Vegetation in varying degrees of thickness separate the field from residential streets. The thickest growth lies beside the footpath. Since it is maintained and owned by the government, the brush sometimes creeps onto the path. On late-summer nights, lightning bugs rise from the foliage. Scores of them mingle in the safety of the trees and bamboo, each one flashing at its own pace and rhythm. Their lights create an array of points flashing in an unpredictable pattern.The school's space is illuminated artificially for safety purposes, but the overhead lights do not blot out the summer display. Old trees grow sparsely beside the school. In the school's unnatural light, they cast stark shadows onto the grass nearby.
Closest to the the rear of the school, there is a blacktop with a few hoops for basketball. Next to the court is a set of three pull-up bars and a single climb-across monkey bar. They are all from the same period; the steel is uncovered and slightly stained by exposure to the elements but they are still sturdy. Several holes open into the hollow bodies of the upright poles of the pull-up bars. On windy nights, air passes through these holes and creates a ghostly chorus. The court and the nearby equipment that stands nearest to the field is hardly ever used outside of school, but around midnight some nights a man stands in the center of the court and practices his martial arts under the yellow overhead lights.