Saturday, December 15, 2012
So when a couple wanted to plant a tree in the park behind my house to celebrate the birth of their son a few years ago, I suggested we plant it southwest of the new play structure, so that its limbs would eventually provide shade during the hottest hours of the day. I showed the tree to a town arborist the other day, and he joked that he will have long since retired to Florida by the time the tree is shading the play structure. I offered that he might be saved a trip, given how quickly Florida's weather is migrating northward.
It's not surprising that staff would be less than passionate about a well-shaded future, given a necessary preoccupation with keeping a storm-ravaged town functioning in the present. And when I look at the tree and see how far it has to go, it does seem a leap of faith. How else, though, does one make cool, delicious shade happen other than to make that leap? The future will come sooner than we think. Trees grow--the evidence is all around--and yet playgrounds across the land roast for lack of shade.
There's another kind of play and exercise that parks need to foster--the play of the imagination, leaps of faith--so that we might better see, and shade, the future.