Black ghosts stretch across the bright green meadow south of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Friends, foes, colleagues, and classmates congregate beneath the cherry trees’ pink horizon while steeples prick the lonely clouds overhead. People laugh and kick soccer balls, and there’s the common crack-hiss of opened beverages singing out over the dull background traffic. This green hollow in the middle of Auld Reekie draws me like a midge to the heather. Marchmont sits quietly to the south while the Royal Mile buzzes like a hive not ten minutes walk north. Father and son skirt the edge of the park, talking quietly in the shadows of history. Just another Saturday evening in Edinburgh.
To think this perfumed glade was once a bog is to understand a shred of our ingenuity. All the architectural wonders of the Old Town and New Town stand behind me as I bask in the view of The Meadows. And yet, the forefathers of Edinburgh took it upon themselves to convert and manipulate the natural cast of things here beneath the rock. Drained, turned, reseeded, hedged, and hemmed – a more perfect place for us all. Just how they imagined. Ingenius and dangerous, the rightness of it all lost in the till.