Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An oasis in the park

One evening I returned to Caulfield park, the place I had my first skate after 17 years. This time, however, instead of simply skating up and down the road, I adventured and found a large new car park with plenty of curbs, speed bumps, and smooth flatland. It was all I needed to practice and improve. The spot has many advantages. The nearest residences are at some distance away and the regularly passing cars, trams, and trains are far louder than my skateboard. The area is well lit up with street lamps, and most importantly, there's hardly anyone there.

This session was particularly special as I felt I'd found a personal space for myself where I can skate in solitude and temporarily transcend the stresses in my life. I also feel at home here. I grew up in the area and visited the park frequently. In my childhood I caught freshwater crabs with a net and bait over in the park's little lakes; I played cricket and soccer in its ovals; I trained for long distance races on the sidewalks along its perimeter; and, as a teen, I hung out there with friends and got up to mischief. After I married and became a lecturer I spent countless hours walking through the park or sitting on its benches contemplating philosophical concepts, preparing lectures, and meditating while surrounded by its lush grass and moist fresh air. Then, as a father, I celebrated my childrens' birthdays there and have seen them playing on its play equipment unaware that I played in the same spot some 25 years earlier, oblivious to the many adventures I'd had there. The memories of my experiences, as the park, surrounded my children from all sides.        

It is taught that love is cultivated by several factors, one of them being 'self disclosure'. The more two people reveal of themselves to each other the more intertwined their spirits become and the more mutual affection they come to feel. I know this park well, over the years it has divulged many of its secrets to me. I feel as though the park knows me well as it has witnessed much of my life's journey. Indeed, it feels as though Caulfield Park is a friend...

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