Oct 082010

A Tale Of  Two Cities

By Ahayma Dootz.

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.

Or, anyway, it rained in the morning
but the sun came out in the afternoon.

In the morning the scene was set
in the city council chambers
where those in the public gallery witnessed
an uncertain, ill-informed, indecisive,
fragmented council debate

on the future of a rare green space
in the city centre. Yes, UTG.

If Union Terrace Gardens were a blank canvas
there would be few problems
but they’re not.

They now come encumbered
with politics, economics, sentiment,
prestige [both civic and personal],
futures, pasts
— they are no longer a park;

they are an Issue.

Up in the gallery,
we were no less guilty of having UTG in our minds
as a disembodied ‘thing’
equally weighted down
with hopes, fears and desires,

as we watched the debate below.

Later, in the afternoon,
in the sunlight,
some of us walked
through the real Gardens

and there were children digging,
planting, laughing, playing,
getting earth under their nails,
on their faces, clothes, everywhere

as grownups stood back
and tried to capture some fragment of their pleasure
with cameras.

Or, anyway, it rained in the morning
but in the afternoon the sun came out.