Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Suburban Park

The Suburban Park

The park is all that is left of extensive agricultural lands and market gardens which have all vanished within the last 150 years or so as the built environment and ribbon development ate away unchecked at the rural landscape.

Since then it has been chipped away at, with public service buildings eating away chunks of land and blocking out the light. Amenities built for the young result in large areas of tarmac. Ponds have vanished under an epidemic of health and safety legislation; and at night sodium lights glare from among the trees.

Recently the local council dispatched some workers who summarily beheaded every living thing on the west side to a height of six foot or so, lest their leaves should fall onto the expensive but rarely used tennis courts, or drift onto the highway.

Yet for the careful observer life thrives here. In the south a clump of trees houses three squirrels who perform acts of derring do on a trapeze of branches, while magpie chuckle their appreciation. A pair of shy jays live here, emerging only to chase away the odd rook who covets their prime position in the high branches.

Each morning a chorus line of great, blue and coal tits sing the sun up over the houses, and occasionally a sparrowhawk drives them into great clouds of wing and beak.

Those that pass through, and they are many, would do well to stop for a minute, and breath the air.

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