A grey dawn pushed away the darkness and quiet of the night, with the passing hours the sun gained force and transformed the gloomy start to a bright and sunny day. After running errands for the morning I found myself strolling in a nottinghamshire suburban park with my oldest dog. I had an hour or so to pass while I waited for my good lady and had brought along my sketchbook to scribble down aspects that may catch my attention and my thoughts. The sketches from my nocturnal wanders are drawn from impression or memory once I get back to the hovel, my daylight excursion gave me chance to sketch with the subject before me.
The park was pleasant enough with young families taking full advantage of the warm morning to spend some time together. Children on brightly coloured bikes sped by closely followed by adults doing their best to keep pace and a careful eye on the excitable and enthusiastic little souls. The cacophony seemed to exist on another level from my thoughts. My senses took in the quieter corners of the park and I soon found myself finding places to sit and draw as my old dog meandered around. Stone steps stood alone next to an uneven pathway. Their worn and aged look gave the impression they were perhaps steps for past horse riders to mount and dismount with ease. Looking about it was easy to see no horses had been in the area for a great many years, but the steps remained like a curious forgotten token.
I finished my sketch and moved on passed neatly cut grass and planted boarders until I happened upon what appeared to be the remains of a haha. These ditches were often used on county estates to stop the livestock from finding their way onto the lawns and garden areas without the inconvenience of building a wall to spoil the view. Again it was obvious as I sat and sketched that no livestock had been here for considerable time, but as with the steps the haha remained.
With my observations and thoughts awakened to the park I began to find it a strange place. It was clearly enjoyed and appreciated by many, but for me it remained a highly diluted form of nature. The finely cut grass lacked the flora and fauna of the wilder areas I enjoy wandering. The trees were well manicured and placed, but they lacked the blossoms, residents and undergrowth of their rural kin. I was left wondering of the past and of previous civilisations attempts to show their control and dominance over nature by landscape and garden. I walked through the park gate and left the scene feeling fine but a little disjointed. I guess I will always tend towards the rural and the wild. It is there I find connection with the wider world and not the sanitised view preferred by others. I glanced across the road to a coffee shop, sitting patiently outside was a quiet and loyal dog waiting for his master to reappear. I doubt any of mine would be so restrained, they would surely voice their desire to be away and enjoying the migration of a pack. Perhaps this little dog would wish the same and I hope he and his owner would find such desires and instincts fulfilled.