Here is an approx. 7 min audio clip and script detailing the relevant backstory to Park Bench Philosophy.
Yes … well… here’s our story.
Once upon a time, an elderly carpenter and an even older ironworker lived together on the edge of an ancient forest.
They would often walk along the forest paths, quietly contemplating the majesty of nature.
On one such walk, they came upon an ancient oak that had been felled by lightening. Oh, the oak had withstood many such strikes before. However, it was now time to complete its cycle of life and return its energy to the soil.
The carpenter and the ironworker wanted to honour the life that had been. So, from a small section of the tree they fashioned a simple bench upon which forest visitors could rest. That way the essence of the venerable oak would live on.
People found that not only did they feel better aftersitting on the bench, they seemed to think better whilesitting on it. Some began to treat the bench as a friend.
The years went by. The carpenter and the ironworker eventually went on to their own reward. The bench remained to fulfill its purpose.
Which is a really nice story, isn’t it?
However, all was not so peaceful for the forest itself!
You see, some people see a forest as a place for renewal and peaceful contemplation. Others see it as a bunch of trees getting in the way of the necessary business of building subdivisions and shopping centres. Interestingly enough, some people come to the forest for the first reason and end up choosing the second. Go figure!
As it turned out, development began to encroach upon the ancient forest. The environment rapists (no judgment intended) were given more and more parcels of land until the forest was now a large park in the middle of a sprawling soulless ménage of asphalt, concrete and glass (again, no judgment intended).
The peaceful contemplators (and those seeking increased property values through having some sort of green area nearby) sought to curb this development. They held vigils and protests, talked a bunch about Mother Nature and spiritual energy, did yoga in the park and said “omm” alot.
And lo and behold, their efforts had an effect. Not so much on city hall but in the park itself.
You see, when the collective focusing of spiritual energy reaches a certain level, magic can happen.
Not only did The Park Bench become sentient, able to chat back and forth with certain people, but a trio of tiny magical forest creatures appeared.
Now magical forest creatures are traditionally vessels for singing and dancing and bringing good fortune to those they encounter.
Our magical forest creatures are a bit less traditional.
Oh, they may still sing and dance a bit. However, the young one alternates between organic gardening and video games while the older one is into existentialist philosophy, thick cuts fries and a sort of jazz fusion wooden flute.
And the third? She is a self-styled environmental scientist and, well, your good fortune would probably be to not to get in her way if she’s in a bad mood.
All three do retain their traditional values, though.
Their collective motto is “Don’t Mess with The Park”
Yet despite this, there are those who would mess.
The Advent of ProgressCo
The regional city government in its wisdom, or lack thereof, has initiated a cost-cutting plan. It has outsourced many management functions. This includes giving park development. and a percentage of any new revenues, over to a branch of ProgressCo, a multi-faceted development corporation run by the reclusive Tharoan and his minion, Macaval.
Their motto is “Where’s my More!”
And who is Tharoan? Imagine taking leftover scraps from an ancient oak chopped down as part of clear-cutting by a mining conglomerate and turning it into a high-backed padded chair.
And who is Macaval? Imagine a bossy, power-obsessed metal desk, the kind you would find in any large bureaucracy. (By the way, did you know that the word “bureaucracy” actually means rule by the desk?)
How these two became sentient is not as well understood. However, the guess is that If you put enough effort into evil, ignorance and greed you get the counterpoint to positive spiritual energy. Yes, nasty people pray p-r-a-y as well as prey p-r-e-y.
The Battle Commences
And so the stage is set.
The Park Bench and the Magical Forest Creatures versus Tharoan and Macaval with the continued existence of the Park, and, dare we say, probably the whole world, at stake.
And holding the true balance of power – your typical self-obsessed, peer-oriented scared-bunny human who hopes the world will save itself (no judgment intended, and probably little judgment used!)
And, of course, there is nature itself, a power outside the machinations of all the schemers, a power that might just upset everyone’s plans.
Our story gets underway with Macaval reporting to Tharoan. It seems that The Park’s Volunteer Gardeners Group and the benches in their area may present a threat to ProgressCo’s financial expectations …