Five Ways to Use a Park

MICHAEL PEDERSON

1) Find a large tree and climb it until you feel that you have climbed too far. Climb one branch higher. Hug the trunk tightly and survey the park in every direction. Wait up there for at least 15 minutes. Carefully climb back down.

2) Lie on your back and imagine the park as a floating island. See yourself, and those nearby, as the only ones left on earth. Let your thoughts wander.

3) Talk to someone in the park you haven’t met before. If need be, show them this list and use it as a topic of conversation.

4) Walk to the top of a grassy hill or rise. Take a deep breath, then run straight to the bottom as fast as you can. Don’t slow down. When you experience a sensation that is halfway between running and falling, let yourself believe that you are flying.

5) Sit on a park bench. Look at all the dog walkers, couples, people lying on the grass, etc. Close your eyes. See each one frozen as they are, like Pompeii figures displayed in a museum of the future. Read the plaques slowly and wonder. Try and guess what they were thinking back then, when everyone was fully alive and nobody cared about a thing.