Two months passed where a nation was housebound, playing fields left desolate, streets empty, children’s parks being reclaimed by nature visibly day by day.
The playground is a space which is dedicated to a child’s exploration of play, physical limitations and expansive imagination. Where after school you may go and become a wild, free being after being restricted to the classroom. Since the waist high gates have been locked with cable ties, grasses and wild flowers have started to take over these already “wild” places. As a society before lockdown we were curious as to what would happen if the world stopped, if our public areas for social activity became untouched. These pockets of land in the centre of our society are unfiltered insights into that world. Vibrant metal structures planted in the landscape by humans now being swallowed up by nature itself. A slide becomes invisible and other taller structures stand like alien life has just landed on earth.
The series “Nature’s Playground” is a snapshot into these temporarily abandoned spaces during a time of global fear of Covid-19. Children are still at the forefront of our nation’s minds, debates as schools reopen to worries of Corona Virus breeding grounds. As the UK’s mechanisms begin to start turning after months of pausing, parks are beginning to be prepared for life as before. Grass paths being cut, some even being rewarded with new exciting equipment.
During May I stepped out on my daily walk into the quiet to document these spaces. Instead of finding the playgrounds eerie and forbidden they appeared to me vibrant and verdant and full of birdsong.
When at the first location, the air beginning to be warmed by the promise of an intense heat from the sun, I was approached from afar by a woman and her dog. She was carrying flowers in her hand which she placed under a tree. She called across the park to me and shared the loss of her son with me. It was then as I withheld my tears from her that I truly understood the weight of these spaces in our society. Not only do they hold the present, the laughter and the over-excitement, they hold ours and our children’s memories forever.