Homage to Horse Park, October 2020
Oil on canvas
153cm x 102cm x 1.5cm
I am lucky to live two doors down from what’s known locally as ‘Horse Park’. It is called Horse Park because, until about 10 years ago, one of the residents still had horses in his backyard and for the first few years we lived here, the horses were often tethered to trees in the park and there was a circular track where the grass had been worn down by the horses doing, I guess, circle work. I like the reminder of connection, the urban connection to a recent rural past that the name ‘Horse Park’ connotes. It seems a fitting name for a park surrounded on all sides by these ex rural fibro houses.
Having said that, I also like living on the relatively busy street at the top of the park where people walk, ride and drive past to catch a bus or commute to work, school or uni as it makes me feel connected to the city and that I live in a city, not the suburbs. Nothing wrong with the suburbs, I just like streets and other public spaces which aren’t always empty during daylight hours.
Before my kids went to school, we would spent hours playing in the park. When the kids reached school age, I walked them to the school at the bottom of the park with a very ancient and decrepit dog. Now I walk my slightly younger (but no less problematic) dogs at least once a day (x2) around the park avoiding other dogs with one, and people with the other (one dog doesn’t much like other dogs and the other dog likes dogs, but would prefer to avoid most people).
It’s not all roses in the park. Sometimes, I feel, as my kids would say, ‘judged’ by other park dwellers for my problematic dogs, but we do try to avoid trouble.
We’ve gone to weddings or other social occasions in the park and come Saturday the park will be full of witches, zombies, ghosts and other demonic creatures of varying ages comparing notes on which houses offers the best and most abundant treats.
The park (and this painting) is a reminder of the little, daily joys and beauties that living in the People’s Republic of O’Connor brings me. It’s not much and not that special, but it’s more than what a lot of people have and I’m grateful for it.