Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Other publication2007

Vattenparken, Malmö - parallell sketch, invited

Wingren, Carola
Wingren, Carola (ed.)

Abstract

A September Day in the Park Miriam alights from the train and walks out in the fresh air. She will not meet Tim yet for a couple of hours. While waiting she has thought of taking a stroll, maybe for some shopping, or, if the sun shines, maybe in the park. Just as she gets up from underground the sun peeps out from behind the clouds; the park it will be! Besides, it has not been pay day yet, and it will be hard to walk around in the amber-coloured glass-house not buying anything. The park will do. And there are actually things happening now and then. It will be a fashion show today, she has heard. That is the reason why she is here. She walks across the big square. It feels deserted at this time on a Sunday morning. She sneaks in just beside the huge arena. Today it is dead quiet here. Not at all like the last time she was here and watched the great match. Then it was a hilarious noise. People everywhere. It is nice to feel the tranquility now. Miriam is hardly awake although it is already midday. She enters a small square, on two sides bordered by wooden stairs. Some skaters are already on the go and it bangs when their wheels hit the surface. For a while she considers to sit down on the eastern flight of stairs and watch the spectacle, but the sun is shaded and she continues her walk. The ground is scattered with tiny fountains. It looks pretty nice. A hot day last summer she took off her shoes and cooled her feet when she was here. Then she didn’t walk any further because of the heat, so she has actually never visited the park. Miriam criss-crosses her way between the small pulsating “water-buns”. On her left the big parking place for buses is empty and free for basket and other games. Some ten youngsters move over the surface with their balls and skateboards, but none of her friends are there. A bit bewildered she gazes first left and the right. In front of her she sees the water tower, situated in a strange construction made of rusty steel and luxuriant green plants. As a child she visited the tower with her school class and went up to the top. But now it is impossible to get through to the tower. Or is it? Is that a ditch? The ground seems to vanish downwards and it is steaming over there. She gets a bit curious and chooses to stay in this open section of the park instead of walking in between the trees to the right. When she goes there she would like to go in company with Tim or some of her other friends. She chooses the passage between the upper playground with the bus stop, situated above the park level, and the inclined surface leading down to the “ditch”. She walks on a combination of stairs and ramps that in different levels leads her down towards the ditch. The sun just broke through and she takes the opportunity to sit down for a little while and enjoy it. She leans towards the concrete wall behind her and the wood underneath her feels warm and soft. Behind and above her she hears the bouncing balls. From her position she has a fine view of the park and what is happening there, and her friends will easily see her if they should turn up for basket or climbing. Some of them have taken on bouldering and they have started to hang out here. She almost falls asleep and when she opens her eyes again she could see that a small family has turned up among the few strolling people down on the inclined surface. They carry small cardboard boxes, almost like milk boxes but without the colourful cover. They have also brought small candles and some paper flowers – or are that real flowers? They move towards the row of trees that stands like a terrace in the middle of the surface. The family gets seated on the terrace’s stair-shaped edge, close to a small house, and seems to be busy with the things they brought along. What will they do? Have a picnic? Maybe, because they have brought some food – and, yes, now they are eating something. But something is also placed in the small house, and they put candles and maybe a flower in the “milk boxes”. Miriam observes how the family walks up the stairs and disappears behind the trees. She is even more curious and she continues to walk on the ramp along the wall towards the ditch, so that she could get a better view. At that moment something comes floating. In a kind of canal a small cardboard boat is gliding along. It bumps into things all the time, but eventually it reaches the steamy area in front of the water tower’s green foundation. Time runs. It is now one o’clock and more people are gathering. Miriam knows that there is going to be an event. “Two o’clock”, she hears someone say. Some girls at her job have told her about a fashion show that is going to take place at the water tower. But where? she wonders. At what side? I maybe must walk around it, she thinks. She continues and reaches a wooden bridge that takes her across the part she doubted belongs to the park. But now she sees it does: at the bottom of the ditch it sparkles when the sun breaks through. It looks like jewels, but maybe it is only pieces of broken glass. In the midst of the steam there is a “secret garden”. It reminds her of a Japanese garden with raked over gravel and stones. It is a landscape to watch, not to trespass… and she almost likes it. Then it disappears in the fog again for some seconds. There must be some nozzles down there, in some way arranging the dampness. Then the fog lifts and she sees the small boat again. She can see how it disappears away in the garden, although the water in some way or the other finds its way to the other side of the “secret garden”. The water seems to flow out between some green hills in a small slope. A bridge is leading over the stream, but could it be there that the fashion show will take place? Behind her, to the left, she hears someone shouting. She turns around, and there the climbers are. It seems to be a whole club. They have some form of briefing. Climbing would be exciting to try, she thinks. She will join them some other day, she thinks, but then she will bring her friend Rita. She is a climber. “Miriam!” Someone calls her name. She turns around and sees Rita. Great! They chat for a while and Miriam is introduced to the coach. They decide that she will come along next Sunday and try some climbing. Now it is almost two o’clock, but yet she has not found any stage. Where is that cat-walk? A lot of people have gathered on the sloping ground leading from Hyllie square down towards the water tower. Many of them are youngsters, but there are also families and some elderly people. She slowly moves there, thinking they are there of same cause. Suddenly, right there on the green luxurious ground behind the lifting fog, a flapping cloth is standing out. The cloth moves along the green foliage on the slightly bent wall. It moves a bit above the ground, at about the same height as her. She notices that there are steel bridges attached to the green surface, and a woman moves upon them with the cloth. More women become visible. First they move up and then down, then to the left and then to the right. They disappear. Instead a man in a stylish suit in strange colours comes on. More persons enter the bridge, then again they disappear, and finally they all show up. Some of them hang in ropes. Its all very strange – but beautiful. Like a dance. Etno-music rolls over the whole area in waves. Elegant! Miriam is uncertain if she would like to wear those clothes. Maybe. She suddenly sees some friends that wave to her. And yes, she thinks - she could wear those clothes. Why not? She feels she will come back here. Tim calls to say he is late. She gets a bit angry, but it doesn’t matter. She joins the others that have been here several times before. They know about a café at the northern part of the park. A place where you might meet everyone or nobody. She feels that she actually is a bit hungry and she longs for coffee. Someone says that they even serve mint-tea at that place. They quarrel about what route to take: through the “see-saw forest” to the right, or the quickest way across the “secret garden”, through the valley of cherries – or Nangijala as someone calls it – past the training field and via the power dam to the shore. They decide to take the latter alternative as they are a bit hungry. See-sawing could be for later. See-saw, thinks Miriam. That must be for children. But then someone describes the big swings for two persons that hangs from big trees, and where you could sit and talk or just look around, and the elastic pumpkin-shaped swing-trunks made of net that you could climb or lie in. “It is great fun”, says Rita, who has joined them. “And many come there. You will see.” But first coffee. They cross the bridge in a faster pace and reach the other side. Its nice here. Families sit here with picnic baskets and some children with fair curly hair runs around playing. “Skorpan, come back!” shouts a big brother to a five year old. Miriam understands that they play ‘Bröderna Lejonhjärta’. That really fits: first the boat from the other side that went down an abyss, and then this promising land over here. Well, well. She doesn’t have to bother about that. She lives in the present. Miriam has got a little left behind when she watched the children and when she thought about the small cardboard boats that came from the other side and the small house that might have been a shrine. She will take a look when she returns. She catches up with the others that already have got round the hills. But what is this? Isn’t the park finished? Mud, earth, water, sand, gravel, weeds. Or what is it? On the top to the left she recognises the project house that was placed near the water tower earlier. It is slightly rebuilt, but it is the same house. At the bottom to the right she sees something that almost looks like a marsh and behind it there are glass walls and constructions. What is that? But then she understands. A train rushes by and then she remember sitting on the train coming here and wondering if she had taken the wrong line, because just before the train reached the station she got a glimpse of something looking like a forest, a wetland, or a piece of nature. At this spot the train passengers could get a glimpse of the park, and the park visitors a glimpse of the train. Well, why not? But it was lucky that you could not see this un-completed area from the train. Then you would rather not come here. Miriam touches the shoulder of the girl standing next to her. She doesn’t know her too well but she seems nice, and she says: “This was not very nice, was it?” “No, its ugly”, the girls answers. “But my little sister was here with her school class and they made constructions here, and experiments. They investigated the water, they flooded the area and they cleared the wells. She thought it was fun. Maybe it will be made nice later.” Miriam shrug her shoulders. She thinks that this really does not belong in a park – parks cost a lot of money! But ok, its fine with me, she then thinks. On the other side of the messy part there is a tall wall with planted trees above. Miriam understands that it is the end of the park. Above it there is a street with trees, a bike lane and what seems to be parking lots underneath the trees. On the wall there are painted horizontal lines… water surfaces? Above it she sees smoke again. This time it smells of food. Cars are there, and people walking back and forth with tables, water pipes and other things. Now she gets it! This area has turned out to be a destination for excursions now when it is too cold to have a picnic by the sea. Here people have a view over the park, the water, the beach and the green areas. The children can run down in the park and play, and they don’t have to carry food and stuff that far. This is something her parents would have liked, she thinks. Below the wall there is an artificial beach, parasols, palm trees and a strange triangular pool with balls or buoys in. When Miriam and her friends get there they choose the sandy side of the pool and they all take off their shoes. The feeling of summer comes back when the sun bursts down and they walk sheltered from the wind. People are sun bathing in swimming suites here. But there is nobody in the water and the row of stylish yellow showers lies idle. Not that surprising on a day like this when it actually is autumn. Mirian feels that she has too much clothes on and she takes off another layer. The girls that is called Amina points at something … Yes, there furthest away, on the terrace above the stairs, you could buy coffee. Miriam is thirsty and decides she will have the mint-tea today. At the far end of the dam there is a wiggling round wooden construction that the children jump on. When the stronger waves roll across the dam the balls lighten up. They don’t shine very bright as the sun is up. But Miriam thinks it must be pretty in the evening. How does it work? Power from the waves generating energy for the bulbs in the balls? Maybe they will have time to take a closer look before they go home. But now its coffee time! They mount the stairs with heavy feet and she wonders about the strange walls along the stairs and the side of the terrace – but she is too tired to really care. Glass and strange water, algae and other stuff behind it. Something experimental again, she thinks and gets bored. Lucky that school is over. Then a surface that beautifully stands out against another catches her eye. Well, maybe she will give it another chance. She will look at it again when she walks back, but now she needs a break. On the terrace that borders the point where the street above the wall passes the railway tracks many of the café-tables are already occupied. Music flows out of a pair of loud-speakers and the traffic noise sounds quite distant as the traffic moves behind some high arches of green vegetation. They almost look almost the base of the water tower. It’s a bit windy and she puts on her scarf and her jacket again. Some of the girls slide a piece of the wall to the side to get more shelter. The others pull some tables together and they get seated. The furniture is of the same manner as the colourful showers down yonder. It all seems quite consciously styled and Miriam must admit she likes the most of it. Some of her friends walk off and make their orders and the tables are filled with toasts, honey-dripping bakeries, coffee, tea, and juice. At last Tim calls again. Now he is on the go. He thinks that the park sounds pretty boring, but he promises to come. They decide that they will meet in the ‘see-saw forest’. There is a horn, someone says, that can be used to call at each other in. Miriam doesn’t quite understand, but they got their mobile phones anyway. Now some of the people that still go to school must dash for home. They have home-work and tests to think of. But Miriam rests together with Rita and her new friend Amina. They order yet some cookies. There is no wind anymore and it is very pleasant in the sun on the terrace. She discovers that there is not only a kitchen and a bar behind the curved walls. There are also different computer- and sms-utilities; a real chat-room, including a screen where different sms come up. Yet it says “People unite!”, yet ”Come home, we miss you!”, or there could be a longer notice on what is happening down in the park. The senders of the messengers are displayed. So if you are alone at your table there is always something to look at. She understands that this must be one of Malmö’s officially arranged meeting places, and she thinks there is a good point with it. When the sun sinks low they start to walk. Miriam has forgotten Tim for a while. He is probably waiting for her. But he could do that – she has waited, too. They walk down the stairs and have another look at the strange liquids in the glass wall. She sees children – but also grown ups – that turn taps, pull handles or write messages. It looks pretty fun, but they will not have time for that now. Tim is waiting and she longs to see him. They walk through the damp vegetation near the railway and it turns out to be some kind of marsh. They have to trot on planks and foot-bridges to get through. She sees a polecat and imagines it is a crocodile. They approach the inviting edge of the forest where she gets a glimpse of the different swings further away. She sees people sail through the air or go up and down in a pillared hall of trees. And there is that horn – looking almost like the professor’s pipe in the Tintin cartoon. She sees Tim grab the horn and put it to his mouth. Then she hears his voice, strangely enough coming form the tower: “Miriam, where are you? I am waiting for you in the see-saw forest.” She sneaks up behind him, puts her hands over his eyes and whispers “hi”. They take each others hands and walk back to the others, and they find their way between trees and people. It is not easy to find free places but after a while people start to walk off and they first find a huge soft ball and then a big hammock where the lay all evening talking to each other. A bit away the others sit together with a big group of girls in a giant swing, talking and giggling – for hours. Now and then Tim and Miriam cast an eye in their direction and Miriam wonders what they talk and laugh about. She waves and leans back again. It doesn’t matter! The daylight fades away and Chines lanterns are lightened among the trees. She gets a little cold and they decide to walk back. She hasn’t eaten too much and her stomach tells her so. At the square there are booths with fast food. The others have left now and Tim and Miriam strolls southwards between the trees. They walk out on the stone-paved concrete surface – the ”stone beach”. Now she remembers that she in the morning wanted to take a closer look among the trees forming that small terrace, right where she had seen the family being busy with their cardboard boats. She also want to look inside the small house. Now in the evening there is a weak light from the house that turns out to be a small shrine. There are still people at the terrace putting small cardboard boats in a small stream, or canal, that flows through the grass covered part of the terrace. The boats float away like small yellow lanterns and now she knows where they will go. Miriam feels that she might come here when she and her parents want to remember her grandparents, and that she could send off a small boat in the stream as a greeting to the ones on the other side. It reminds her of the remembrance ceremonies that she has seen on TV and in the papers in connection to different terrible events in the world, like the big tsunami. She and Tim sit there and look for a while, and then they walk up the sloping ground. Miriam is still barefoot and she carries her shoes in her hand. The rounded stones that are cast into the cement feel soft and cool against her feet. The stones vary and create different patterns and she thinks she could almost read messages here too. Small blue lamps cast light over the area in a raster. It is the same kind of light as up at the small square with the tiny “water buns”. Now the water is pulsating here too, and the ground is illuminated in small points. The small boats are moving, there is the horn in the forest, and coloured puffs occasionally ascend from the distant secret garden and above them the water tower forms a ceiling of light. The park is quiet now, although if a lot of people have stayed until late. It is only at the play ground adjacent to the arena, where the buses otherwise should park, that there is full action. There people ride and get thrown in the designed patterns that have been painted there. Tim sees a friend and wants to go over. Miriam would rather sit with Tim on the wooden benches at the square or maybe walk home and huddle together on the bed, but she comes round for a short while. She doesn’t feel like joining the game, but she finds the heavy moveable benches that run on rails. Tim helps her to push one of them closer to the edge so she gets a view over the park, and there she sits down and wait. She is surprised that the hard bench is warm. She sweeps the scarf tighter around herself, picks up a book and starts to read. Tim throws some balls and chat with same friends for a while. Then he comes strolling over and they walk towards the food and the train by the square. It has been a fine day in the park. And not too much money spent. But maybe, maybe by the end of the week, she will visit the shop that displayed their waving clothes near the water tower. There was a coat that she thinks would be just the one to wear when the autumn and winter come to Malmö

Published in

Publisher: C Wingren Landskap Ab, Malmö kommun