11 December 2013

A Surprisingly Exuberant Information Board

Fog Lane Park in December

Here is my local park, Fog Lane, on a balmy December morning.

You can see the wildflower beds mentioned in October in the middle ground. Alas they have succumbed to time and are now stickbeds. It will be interesting to see what happens in spring.

In the foreground is an information board. This sometimes has a map of the park highlighting the location of specimen trees, or a list of the birds you could find in the park. If you wanted to explore the park, or had to entertain a child, I imagine this information might be useful, and it is a good sign to see evidence of someone in some council department engaged with the park beyond trimming its budget.

Generally, though, these displays are simple lists of species of plant or animal you may see. I was surprised then to see the new winter board describe in really quite poetic language the experience of being outside in nature in winter time:

I wonder who wrote this.
'the first frosts deter all but the hardiest of dog walkers'
'occasional snow can transform the park into a cold, hazy, beautiful place'
What chutzpah to suggest getting up early!
They add a list of things you could do.  Look at the word 'chuck'.  Surely not an official council-speak word?

'Leave a trail of footprints on frosty mornings'.  You mean it's OK to be frivolous in Fog Lane Park?

And when the writer returns to the old practice of listing species they manage to give an impression of a lively place containing forgetful birds, busy squirrels, and spontaneous fruiting bodies.

An impressive and reassuring information board. The park has someone working on its behalf who appears to have a genuine enjoyment of nature.