There is my neighbor’s dog, a high-strung nervous whippet. Well, the owner has gone away and left her in my care. These past smiling days we have walked together in Griffith Park cantering gracefully through spring’s glory. ‘Missy’ is a bit of a prima donna; she wants adulation from man and beast alike. She spotted a randy looking coyote and thought to herself ‘oh, a bit of rough stuff’, and started to strain at the lead. The coyote was sizing her up with an eye more for lunch and dinner, his instant gratification. She sensed the danger, turned around quickly pulling in the opposite direction.
So, gentle reader, there is a dark side to parks. Not every day, but once in a while. Indeed, there are several dark sides, particularly after dark. For today, let us talk of lighter things, like spring blooms and love.
One popular image of life in the park is that young lovers strolling hand in hand in a dreamland of green. This may have been true in the past. Today young people simply ‘doss straight down’ on the grass and investigate each other. Bless ‘em all. Here lies an argument in favor of the ubiquitous guitar. It is difficult to smooch and plonk at the same time. If music be the food of love, play on.
Meanwhile, nannies, dads, moms, tramps, old people, young people and very young people wheel, limp, stroll, stride, toddle, and drive about. There are occasional men and women in orange suits spiking litter with sharp sticks. There are children bouncing around on ponies. There are lissome geezers in golf carts lonely long distancing. There are birds above and worms below. There is life.
Approach Los Angeles by air, and you will see this wonderful stretch of wild landscape smack in the middle of urban sprawl. There are many wonderful parks around the world, but for us overpopulated cement dwellers this ‘bit of wild’ native California is a heaven sent on a glorious spring day.
But, all parks have one thing in common. This involves one of my private dreams. No, I don’t mean the naughty dream. I am thinking of a Dream House. All parks have little isolated houses. In them live Keepers and Rangers and suchlike persons. Sequestered, they nestle in the green. They look sleepy-but do they sleep? No doubt they have their troubles. Ghosts, burglars, witches? Could one get a good night’s sleep? I wonder. After all, a coyote might just breeze in.