"You know, he was always like a fish out of water around her...poor Lumpers, never mind, I says, plenty more fish in the sea, plenty more."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Natural play structure

Some children love to climb trees. Maybe it's a morphological behavior that hasn't become vestigial yet. Some parents don't like their children climbing trees (it's not safe, dear), and we have playground structures to meet their needs. But it's not the same thing, is it kids? Well, here's the next best thing: a nearby land development has brought a gnarly wood play structure to our neighbourhood and it's awesome.

I used to climb trees too when I was a kid and I like how Warren Brubacher's structures provide children with a similar, perhaps safer, activity. My son loves climbing the structure, pulling himself up and around the gnarly limbs, developing his grappling and toehold skills.

Warren Brubacher, a wood artist, gathers his medium from forests. He goes with a permit into an area that is to be logged and takes the stuff that logging companies don't want - the twisted snags, stumps and limbs, and uses them to build house features, furniture and lampstands.

His play structures are fantastic (he's built one in Whistler, Richmond and now this one), and they're brilliant not because they're uniquely beautiful pieces of sculpture in the landscape, and not because they're totally biodegradable and sustainable, but because they can lure boys away from computer games and get them outside, to climb and play, and keep those arms and legs from becoming vestigial.

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