Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to Recycling

Last week was Spring Break for my kids so, naturally, we went to Grandma's. Grandma still lives in the same house I grew up in, so I took my kids to one of my favorite old haunts : the tire playground. It was there that I had a epiphany.

I can remember when town council first decided there was going to be a new playground, and that it was going to be made of old tires. My friends and I were so excited: we'd go and watch the workers getting the space ready, then hauling in the tires. We couldn't believe the size of some of them: up until then, tractor tires were the biggest ones we'd ever seen! We would spend countless hours imagining what the tire playground would look like. Would it have a fort? Would there be swings? How were they going to hold all those tires together? Our little minds were buzzing.

Finally it was finished and it was great! There was a fort, with two draw bridges and a triangle of two-storey compartments to crawl in. The workers had made us a little boat/car shaped sculpture, a giant four-sectioned sandbox, and a bumpy three tire thing that resembled a sea serpent, but was made of tires big enough for us to actually crawl inside. And to top it off, three tire swings on poles so long that you could practically reach orbit before coming anywhere close to your neighbour. It was a child's dream and only now, sitting in my favorite spot reflecting on the fun I'd had there, did I realize what else it was. The tire playground was an ode to recycling, a fantastic use of resources at hand and a desire to make something useful out of what might have been considered junk. Tire playground, I salute you! You are a beacon of the right way to recycle, to reduce, to reuse.

The tire playground looks almost the same as it did 20-odd years ago, another testament to what a great idea it was. The only things missing are the tire swings and the climbing wall. I have found a link, check it out: Click on "Community Centres" in the virtual tour menu to get the right picture.

First you will see the ball diamonds, then as the camera turns you can make out the three bumps of the sea serpent-like structure off in the distance. Still standing, still well-loved, still a great idea.

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