Is there a place that has been special to you during lockdown? A place that got you through?
Below is my love letter to West Ham Park, the place that made all the difference to me over the last few months. Take a moment to write your own lockdown special place love letter. Let me know what you come up with:
Dear West Ham Park
Thank you for being there for me during lockdown. You stayed open when everywhere closed. Thank you for being a beautiful, green space that I could wander in, when I was confined to the grey concrete of East London. For being my escape valve on the challenging days of non-stop bad news or being 24/7 with my family. For being a local place of freedom, hope and discovery when my work stopped and my London adventuring was suddenly on hold.
Thank you for the chance to notice and learn. I now know so much more about flowers, trees and the natural wonders on my doorstep. My camera is full of colourful photos. You gave me the space I needed to stretch out my arms, run and jump, lay in the grass and stare at the wide sky, when I felt cooped up. You gave me a place for relaxing, bonding walks and play with my family.
Thank you for being the terrain I walked through as I solved problems, reflected and generated ideas. These walks have been a daily, sensory delight. You delivered a cast of curious characters (gangs of teenagers pretending to exercise, foragers, yoga stretchers, dog walkers, not-so-distanced football games, sunbathers, loud music listeners). This gave me a bit of much needed normality and allowed me to be safely near people. Feeling the ground beneath my feet and seeing the sky above gave me certainty when everything felt strange and unpredictable. You reminded me why I belong here when my non-urban family questioned why we stayed; when this was the epicentre of the virus.
You reminded me that everything passes. Each of your trees and flowers has it’s glorious moment bursting into flower before it’s petals fade and drop. I was reminded to be still to enjoy that moment, then let it go and be ready to notice the next plant in flower. I was reminded to have faith that spring always follows winter. Everything keeps moving on and changing.
Thank you for making me aware of my health, sanity, freedom, strong supportive network and my own ability to adapt. Thank you for being there.
(This is a photo of me jumping in West Ham Park by Iokasti (age 11)).
Anise is an experienced coach specialising in resilience and walking techniques. She can often be found wandering and working in London parks.