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A messiah in the park

Posted by Simon Parke, 14 July 2020, 9.51am

It is early morning; the park is empty.

She walks with a stoop and so does her dog. He’s a good age and can’t have long.

He reaches the ball she throws for him, but not immediately. He plods towards it, setting off in his own good time.

It’s only a ball, after all; it isn’t going anywhere.

But while she looks after her dog, happy to have him along, she is mainly here for the litter.

This is her park, which she shares with others; but they make more mess than she does.

In fact, she makes no mess at all, but clears up everyone else’s. Cans, bottles, deflated party balloons, spent fireworks, wrappers - she collects them with her plastic pincers, not easy for arthritic limbs, and drops them in her bag.

It’s a measured process, almost slow-motion. From a distance, nothing appears to be happening; though much is.

The bending down, she steadies herself each time; the unhurried reach into hedges where things have been carelessly tossed.

She leaves nothing behind, I see for myself. Into her bag it goes - each thrown-away, cast-away bit of it; and then - when all is gathered in - the slow walk to the park bin where she leaves it.

Her dog follows, lying down occasionally.

I don’t know what she thinks of those who deface her park, who casually smear creation.

But she clears up after them, long before they wake; so they can come and enjoy the grass and the glory all over again.

And she’ll be back tomorrow to re-make Eden.

It’s what messiahs do.

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