It is only accessible by foot after a short trek through elders, balsam firs and scrub brush. Then it’s there before you, almost camouflage. The stream skirting the space runs fast now with winter melt and frequent rains. The water rattles over the rocks and whispers under the footbridge of fallen trees.
The Weaponry with original siding
It’s here that the boys are building The Village. It started with two found pieces of siding. Nestled in the branches and leaning against trees, they become walls. Scavenging is now a favourite activity. New items have a structural, or decorative use and some become part of the weaponry. The Weaponry is one of The Village’s three rooms. It’s the place where tools are made. Note the garbage can lid shield and a bucket for sharpened spears.
Next to The Weaponry is The Lodge. It seems to be more about relaxation, less about imaginary warfare. A scraggly Christmas wreath made of woven synthetic wired fabric greets visitors at the main entrance. Just over the threshold there is a tattered old deck chair cushion faded yet serviceable. It’s a good place to grab a seat as it acts as a barrier to the wet, spongy ground.
The Lodge has a great view too, a vista of the water rushing past. It’s so close you can dip and dangle your fingers. This is a place of found objects – branches of trees, old crumbling logs, rocks, plastic pails, real estate signs, curved handles from shovels, a broken radio, a hubcap, siding and yes, a wreath. But check out the view of the water.
Across from The Weaponry and The Lodge is The Lumbershop. Here we see a few old logs standing on end. We’re told they are the raw material for tools. We’re on a 3G tour with our lad Noah showing myself and my papa all the sights. To Noah’s chagrin, his two young sisters and one of their friends are tagging along. He is not keen on either of them knowing the location.
Noah stumbled across the location for The Village during one of the countless games of hide and seek and thought it would be a good place to build. The land is barren scrub. It’s located just a stone’s throw away from backyards. The kids are explorers but not too deep in the wilderness. From Noah’s perspective, there are a few things that are needed for The Village to prosper: a better pocket knife, or a saw; a bow and arrow and a target. There is a rudimentary washroom for boys but most prefer just to go in the woods.
In recent days, The Village has competed successfully against road hockey for our lad’s attention. With warmer weather on the horizon, we’re sure it won’t be long until he’s asking to take out picnic lunches to the hideaway that we can almost see from our back verandah.
Earlier in the week, just after the project had got underway, I asked our lad how the fort was coming along. “It’s the village, papa,” he replied with an emphasis that indicated that this distinction should be self-evident to me.
It takes a child to make a village of objects found lying about. What is junk, scraps and waste to adult eyes are riches beyond the imagining of it for kids on the build. In this village great things are happening – play, friendship, discovery, independence, resourcefulness….
I’m looking forward to news about The Village in the days to come. I’m curious too to see what other materials take a migratory path from our backyard to the new for the kids, by the kids space. Long live The Village!