I happened to pass through Dundonald park yesterday while on vacation.
Why on earth would I venture into the busy, noisy downtown area during my week off? Well, I was honouring a special lunch invitation with friends who live close by.
Those who know me in the Ottawa reading and writing community, may recall a book review from a few years ago and my encounter with a friendly, talkative bench warmer. He introduced me to Igor Gouzenko, the Russian cipher clerk who courageously exposed his government’s spying activities during the cold war.
In his slurred speech and wobbly stance he declared, “If it wasn’t for this man, we’d all be speaking Russian!”
As I took pictures of the signs and plaques honouring this cold war hero, I thought about the Canadian communications worker who recently sold secrets to foreign powers, or those Americans who struggled with internal conflicts about integrity and chose to expose their own government’s activities. One of them is seeking asylum with the same country whose government Igor exposed for spying on citizens. Ironic?
It’s not a black and white world. The lines of integrity and honour seem blurred just as my photographs of these plaques are mottled by the summer sunlight and shade of the park’s trees.
As I moved on, I captured that poster pole plastered with advertisements of events to come.
I stood in appreciation of this method of communication in a time when information about events and news are immediately accessible and can travel so quickly. Sometimes the news travels quicker than the facts are checked.
I pondered the storage space my photographs would take if and when I would upload to one of my many blogs and attempt to write about my experience.
I next captured one of the tables surrounded by a patchwork of summer shade. I felt a lonely, eerie sense in that of the dozens of times I had visited this park, I had not once seen people playing checkers or chess at one of these tables.
At least the little blue chalk heart drawn on the corner of the table made me smile.
On the way out, I encountered more chalk drawings.
My love of innocence and playfulness returned as I continued on to meet my friends for that special lunch.
Thank you for reading this far. Have you visited an urban park recently? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments box below.