LENS Post #5

he stories of our cities can be told through the trees. They speak to us in a language of gentle reaction and patience – they are the embodiment of hope. They are an inconvenience to buildings and footpaths but their shade and simple grandeur surpass anything we can construct. We often talk about the need to connect with nature – a modern aliment – because our cities have become forests of concrete and glass and we as highly evolved chimps – rather than robots – are at home among the trees.

You can tell a lot about the continuum of a city’s intention seeing how trees are factored into the urban dialogue – their lives are multigenerational; the decision maker never enjoyed the shade you now do.

How have we composed trees in our cities, their curfews on our streets and selected species we planted? Are we about the leafy fun foliage of resort-style ecology, or do we reminisce about Europe with leaves that fall with the seasons? Do you like palms for their year-round balmy comfort or the spiny austerity of a maple in the winter? Or are you somewhere in between, and love the greedy shade of the Poinciana and their insane red confetti signalling storm season? If you listen to the chatter of their leaves you will hear the song of the forest. Our shared song. Long forgotten. Children know the song of the forest; it’s when we find our three bears, a grandmotherly wolf, and a gingerbread house. It’s within the crowd of trees where we first developed a sense of imagination, to be consumed by awe, to step inside a chasm of ourselves. Now look wide-eyed —the speckling of shade as it harvests the sun and the massive arms towards heaven– how it bends and breaks the laws of construction. We need their song in the landscape so we may pass on their generosity to next.