Jun 242013

Laburnum tree
A group of Playworkers were reflecting together about the little open spaces in the city where they make it possible for children to play.

Several of the Playworkers had not grown up in this country and several others had parents who had not grown up here and who had not had the wisdom about plants and the natural kingdoms passed on to them.

So they made extra certain that they shared the things they grew to know about this other kingdom and passed this on to the children who played.

‘In our play garden there is a beautiful tree with clusters of yellow flowers hanging down like bunches of grapes. It’s smell is sweet and its blossom brings the colour of sunshine to an otherwise ugly space. The children are excited by it and love to play under its branches which hang down like long hair.’

‘Oh my friend. Beware for from the words you share with us , it would seem to me that that tree whose virtues you extoll is a Laburnum tree, the pods containing its seeds are poison to the little ones should they ingest them” cried another Playworker in alarm.

At this exclamation there arose a great flurry of concern from the reflecting Playworkers.

‘Oh what shall we do, for it is one of our primary concerns to keep safe the little ones as they play?’

“This Laburnum Tree, that at first appeared to be such a blessing , is indeed a curse. We must move the playing to another space at once’

” But this space is so perfect for the mothers and for their offspring to use for the refreshment and relaxation that they find in each others company and through their playing. I say we take a sharp axe and hack at the trunk of the trunk of the Laburnum Tree until it is no more.”

“Now in this city that is so filled with greys and browns, which sharp angles and unyielding surfaces, it seems to me to be a sin to end the life of a beautiful tree. Why do we not find a brightly coloured ribbon, so garish that all may see it and attend to its message. And why do we not take this ribbon and wrap it around the whole area in which the laburnum tree doth dwell. It will show to the world that this is a place of danger and that those who wish to preserve their lives, should stay far far away from this accursed growth.”

” But my friends and beloved colleagues. The whole space in which these children have to play is so tiny within this great desert of a city, it seemeth unjust to remove the permission of the children to play throughout the whole of it.”

“Perhaps it would be an advisable move to gather around us the mothers and fathers, the uncles and the aunts of the little children and offer them a paper upon which they can sign their names to offer their permission for their precious children to play in the proximity of this malign plant?”

” It occurs to me that we know little of the Laburnum tree and its ways. I will consult the great web of knowledge and see if there is any wisdom to be gained that will offer us insight into the presumed evil of this tree”

” It doth seem to me that you are really on to something there my friend. For indeed it is never a waste of time to increase our knowledge base. moreover, I have just realised that although we have rejoiced in the playing of the little ones for many months in this space,yet none of them have expired and passed away yea even though they have been playing beneath the fragrant locks of said Laburnum tree.”

” Oh my foolish colleagues, and in this insult I include myself for my slowness of wit and lack of application of the Knowledge that has been imparted unto me. We have been blinded by the pernicious works of the risk averse. For surely, if we are to do our work as it is understood throughout the World of Play and take our guidance from the sacred texts of The Playwork Principles’ we would come swiftly to an understanding that it is a our duty and indeed our great joy to advocate to the right of the children to play when confronted by the adulteration of this space presented by the toxins contained within this poor tree. Indeed these tree toxins are as of nothing when set side by side with the creeping hysteria of the risk averse.”

“By all that lives and breathes, you are right my friend. We have been duped and our thinking has been stultified and we have been made stupid by the fears that spread like the virus of a winter cold throughout our lands.”

“To be sure , your speak the truth. We Playworkers know full well that children are wise and grow to become more wise and stronger the more that they play. Here is what we need to do. We show the tree unto the children and we tell them that this tree is indeed a thing of great fragrance and beauty, like an unexpected rose against the railings or the sunlight reflected in a puddle. We talk with the children and encourage them to inform their elders of the many advantageous properties of this tree, which we will name for them that they may increase their own knowledge of its delights and dangers. We will tell them of the toxins that run through its fibres and we will give them Information about how to avoid incurring harm to themselves and their friends in their relationship with this glorious plant”

“Your plan is one of great wisdom , insight and maturity my colleague. And I will add but a snippet in addition to complete the proposal with which you have illuminated our thinking. For let us now work together and draft a document that reflects this wisdom and finesse. Let us make it clear and simple for all the world to see and know. And let it be called a “risk benefit assessment for the Laburnum Tree in the space where the children play” and let us mark it with the date of our revelation of understanding and sign it as a group who have travelled the paths of ignorance to reach this point of understanding. And let us revisit it from time to time to remix ourselves of the action we have chosen to commit to.”

And so throughout the ponderous reflections of the Playworkers, the children were able to continue to play beneath the branches of the laburnum tree, which, like the young ones, lives and thrived and grew in strength and beauty. And the Playworkers, the parents and the children grew in their understanding of the tree and of themselves. And no trees or children were harmed.

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  2 Responses to “The Parable of the Weeping Laburnum”

  1. Thou speakest great wisdom, Penny. I have shared the fruit of your ponderings on my social networks, in the hope that they will spread far and wide.

  2. Glad to hear that Tim.

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