Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Not parks - parks are great, but they are planned, laid out, designed.
Not built remains - derelict houses and secretive laneways are fun, fuel for the imagination, but they are human remnants nonetheless.
No, I mean patches or stretches of land that's "unimproved" (strange word, that. As if the human footprint is of necessity an improvement).
Sometimes - often - you find these scraps of country alongside waterways or the foreshore.
Sometimes it's protected, because of flora or fauna, or water quality preservation, or any other thing, and thus safe from being cultivated, shaped, bent around to a need. (At least for now).
Sometimes it is made to serve purposes - both those that authority intends, and those that people impose, from the dismal dumping of rubbish to the illicit but blood-stirring low roar of dirt bikes.
Sometimes it grows coastal plants and tall, rustling reed grasses, higher than a 3 year old's head, and is starred with tiny, perfect purple flowers for just a few weeks in spring.
Sometimes the children find delicate, fingernail-sized shells, so light and fragile that a firm touch will shatter them, cast up from a receded sea.
Sometimes walking there is an adventure, and sometimes it is peace.
Always, it is more than it seems, this suburban corner with its great big sky and its whispering grass, its tiny frogs and rare blossoms, its bike trail marks and sea mud and shells and trains not so far.
It is our Littlewild.