Hyde Park or Woodhouse Moor, as the Friends of: more accurately call it, has to be one of the most popular and busy open spaces in Leeds. I have a particular nostalgia for it as it was a place where,as children my brother and I played. Our family lived in Woodhouse Square. Little Woodhouse, (check out the stunning slideshow on Little Woodhouse Online http://littlewoodhouseonline.com/gallery/?show=slide)
Several years ago my brother returned to live in this area, adjacent to the park, and it enabled me to regularly use the park for exercise and much needed time for reflection after visiting him. My brother’s long term, chronic mental health problems affected his motivation, preventing him from strolling with me, these visits often left me heavy hearted, but walks across the moor to town raised my spirits. Taking photographs there gave a creative outlet to my melancholia and feelings of frustration at not being able to ease his distress.
After one such visit on Good Friday this year the park was less of a bustle than usual, possibly because of this a song thrush felt bold enough to alight quite near me, being very short sighted I rarely spot birds, so it was a special privilege, it had it’s beady eye on me and stood his ground, tilting it’s head to listen to the few words I passed with him, too scared to scare it off by slipping out my camera phone, I simply enjoyed the few minutes granted me. It had been raining therefore he was too busy looking for a wormy treat to honour me with a song.
My day brightened. I planned to research more information about song thrushes, as I was sure I’d read they were in decline and I planned to return the following day with my camera…………..
…within the space of the next few hours I received news that my brother had died suddenly. The memory of sighting that chirpy little song bird comforted me and seemed even more special.
It’s my experience that loss of any kind…. opportunities missed when ill …… people close to us in death……can push us in to a state of transcendence, a heightened awareness which is not accessible most other times. I’m not sure I believe that birds are the messengers they are described as in myth and legend but I like this Turkish saying ‘his soul bird has flown away’.
I’m sure Woodhouse Moor will continue to be my favourite urban stomping ground for years to come, it feels a safe enough area for a lone walker to stroll, I’m reassured by the presence of the wardens who patrol regularly in their buggy.
The park has been the setting for some dramatic and interesting events both during the civil war in the 17th century and in more recent times for my personal battle with the ‘stormy search for self’, I’ll save these stories for a future post, possibly on my own blog site! yes. although previously dubious about the usefulness of social network blogs etc, I’ve become so enthused during the training course to see it’s potential as a creative outlet for expressing thoughts and musings which might otherwise be left under wraps.