Montgomery Park is a little green space in the neighbourhood where I grew up, filling in an oddly shaped gap enclosed by the highway, King Street, and Montgomery Road. Its prominent feature is a storm overflow ditch running parallel to the highway; it also has a small playground, but you’ll rarely see families with little kids there; it’s mostly occupied by teen smokers from the high school across the road. Being within yelling earshot of my home, Montgomery Park was within the boundaries of where I was allowed to go alone as a child.
Though today it's been cleaned up and thinned out, it once had a respectably dense grove of forest which provided enough privacy from snooping neighbours to accomodate a small population of Kitchener's homeless; cutting through that bush during the day was a thrilling adventure where you would certainly encounter lots of empty liquor bottles and piles of broken glass, discarded clothing, scorched remains of secret fires, and occasionally the discarded equipment of drug injection.
Before the City of Kitchener built the giant elevated overpass for highway that now casts its shadow across the park, the light that raked across Montgomery Park at dusk was magical. As the street lights along Montgomery Road blinked on, time would suspend. The street lights were a peculiar old kind that cast a focused cone of light directly below themselves, not capable of illuminating much else. There wouldn’t be another soul in sight, and the only sound would be the non-stop hum of cars and trucks. At some times of year, there would be fireflies.
For a moody pre-teen, that was my contemplative space; sitting on a swing, alone at Montgomery Park. Not swinging, but just planting one foot in the gravel/sand and allowing myself to spin slowly around, letting the chains twist and untwist, letting my mind twist and untwist, meditating on life.
This piece is about that time and place.