Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stumbling upon nature

      The other day, I walked outside to get some fresh air. I was relieved to take a break from driving. Driving, going, pushing, running, walking, hurrying, moving, packing, unpacking ... is all I do. Work, shop, eat, sleep, clean. Rush. Rush. Rush.

      It was a Sunday and I needed some fresh air. I meandered around, happy to be outside without having anywhere to drive to or get to. I stumbled upon beautiful nature behind my complex. I see the new homes being resurrected, so I know I live in a new, up-and-coming residential area. But wandering around last Sunday just about 100 feet directly behind where I live was amazing.

     I found concrete street already poured. I found driveways already existing. I found curbs. I was told by a family member that this used to be the site of a former residential area. But I was still in awe of seeing the "Christmas" tree standing proudly at the end of a driveway where a mobile home used to be.

        I walked around, breathed in the crisp December air, and kept taking pictures. It was interesting to see nature - brush, trees void of their leaves, and Douglas Firs - running wild amongst the concrete slabs of forlorn driveways and empty, cracked streets, trying to overcome it. Man versus nature.

     I saw a tractor slumped near heaps of cylinder concrete blocks thrown randomly in a pile. Nature versus man. Beauty versus rubbish. Quiet versus noisy. Habitat close to nothing. 

         Who had lived here before? Who decided to "clean up" the area with brand new homes? I had never before seen the ghost of an old neighborhood. It was beautiful to see the abundance of the trees and brush trying to break free from the chain-like concrete. It was a very interesting contrast of what was once there - the nature that is trying to regrow and reclaim its land. It's sad knowing that these trees will be chopped down to make way for another lot of homes. Maybe the few that survived chopping for the formal locale of residents won't survive the chopping block for the new, modern layout the builder has in mind. 

      It was almost eery walking in this old neighborhood which was reclaimed by nature. But it was amazing. Old versus new. Black, old concrete set against brilliant trees. 

          As I noticed an old fence at what must've been the former property line, my ears noticed the road noise. I was near two very busy roads that intersected on a corner. Reality came back. I always hate when suburban neighborhoods exist because it means urban sprawl takes place. There are very few forests left in Oregon in the crowded areas due to masses of people dispersing from Portland. Ironically, I am from So Cal - the center of suburban sprawl - where no nature exists, but is rather captured by the builders: the money talkers (and the nature takers). Roads and roads and roads are built. A million stoplights are put in.

        But last Sunday, I didn't think about public transportation and how stoplights in suburbia need to be synchronized. I just truly enjoyed being artsy and enjoying my surroundings, observing all of the contrasting elements.

       Relax. Slow down. Walk. Observe.

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