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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
V 1990 - 2002
 Before reaching me she had turned along the path around the lake. It must have taken half an hour for her to be completely out of my range of vision, and by that time she had traversed maybe only some three hundred meters.  I had not been able to see her face, but I could imagine her expression of supreme determination to assert her independence, progressing through the park, step after painful step. This passing scene was what I suppose James Joyce might have called ‘an epiphany’: a realization of the innate will of human nature to affirm its transient existence on this planet, and as long as one can, unaided and quite independently, ‘ take a walk in the park’. 

   Strangely enough, before I had risen from my park bench to get into my own demonstrative stride and revert to becoming a walker myself, another quintessential little cameo was to complete my morning’s visit to the park.  On the grass lawn, some few meters from where I sat, a young fellow was vigorously doing push-ups. With a subconscious disinterest in this excessive display of youthful masculinity, I moved my attention to another view. Ironically, as it transpired, in a similarily physically demonstrative, camio. I saw a young boy grasping the two hands of an older person who was siting down on a park bench. Both seemed to be playfully pulling one another back-and-fro with athletic energy. Everybody but me it appeared was so full of unusual stamina that morning!

   Then I noticed that there was something indiscernible behind this couple.  As the boy finally, I thought, succeeded to win the game of strength, the half-hidden object came clearly into view; it was a wheel chair, a very lightweight wheel chair. The meaning of the scene that I had previously constructed for myself now began to change. The man on the park bench now appeared to be discernibly quite old and seemed to be seriously disabled, and the boy I now felt almost sure, was his grandson. After he had eventually pulled the old man into an erect position, the boy lifted him bodily up and turning him around, almost as if he was a large doll, placed him gently into the wheel chair. They went away together, the boy pushing the wheel chair and gaily moving his head in conversation with the man whom I was now convinced was his old granddad. I could see that the old man too was animatedly nodding his head in response to the lad.  As they disappeared amongst the trees and out of sight, I tried to imagine what they were saying to one another. Were the boy’s words impatient or conciliatory?  Was the old man’s words irritable or indeed softly appreciative of the time that his grandson had spent, away from his friends, on this lovely sunny winter’s Friday morning, to take him out  for a walk’ in the park,'  leaving me with a certain sence of wonder?


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