“The lover of nature is he … who has retained the spirit of infancy even in the era of manhood.” If Emerson is right, then perhaps that is why, beyond reasons of necessity and circumstance, I have ended up writing about urban nature. I grew up in Manchester and spent as much time as I possibly could playing outside with the other kids on my street. Sometimes I was allowed to play in the car park across the street, but mostly I played along the pavement near my house—running, racing, skipping, cycling—and on the strips of grass along the verge, where I would practice my cartwheels. At one end of the street there was a small triangle of grass, surrounded by houses and a church—a town planner’s dream of the long-lost village green. For some reason the kids on my street didn’t play there. Perhaps we knew somehow that it would be wrong, even without a “No ball games” sign.
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Image Credit: Naomi Racz