To call it “my bench” is a partial distortion
of the truth. Paid for by taxpayers’ money
and situated in a public area, it cannot be
said to belong to me in the capitalist sense.
However: I have sat upon its homely
wooden seat come wind, rain or shine,
every day for nearly one decade. That is
certainly commitment, in my opinion.
A short walk from my home, at the top of
a gentle hill, sitting there affords a delightful
view across the valley, whose sides
are shrouded in deciduous woodland.
I sit there to observe the varying palette
of the sky and seasons, to watch the local
flora and fauna, to listen to the sounds of nature,
to contemplate life. To find myself, essentially.
Members of the local community – bequeathing
ownership in a more functional sense – also
refer to the bench as mine. This does not mean
they do not sit there: that would be ridiculous.
I positively encourage folk to perch with me.
I have conversed with friends and strangers there.
We have discussed nature, art, philosophy,
comedy, politics, literature and love.
We have sat in thoughtful silence together.
We have debated, hugged, listened, shared,
despaired. I have laughed, wept and experienced
every conceivable human emotion there.
With ten years of unbroken kinship between us,
I’m considering carving my name into the bench’s
backrest; or having its likeness tattooed into my skin.
As we have shared so much, perhaps I’ll do both.