A bloom is a small idea of how to improve our world.
Tend the garden of humanity with me by blogging with your own idea on any Sunday.
If you do, feel free to pingback here so we can keep the conversation going.
Today’s Bloom: Plant a Tree
Trees have always felt like a refuge to me. They’re the cathedrals of nature. Walking amongst them is guaranteed to impart a sense of belonging in the world at large. Maybe it’s because a tree can become home to literally hundreds of creatures. Maybe it’s because we didn’t climb down from them all that long ago.
There is a tree just outside of where I live.
Well, there was.
A few of the tree’s branches were beaten by storms. Its roots were grasping at the earth beneath a utility box. Its existence had become inconvenient.
When I saw the orange paint streak of death on its trunk, my heart sank. It’s been a few weeks now. A tree-like bush that grows pink flowers has taken its place.
There are more of these elsewhere on the property. They’re pretty, but it’s rare to see an insect on their branches. The leaves they grow are sparse. The shade they offer is weak.
The entire plant sways in the wind like a child learning to walk. It will never learn to stand on solid ground, the grip of its roots is too weak. I don’t imagine its tendrils will ever wrap around wires. It will never grow strong or tall. Its branches will never dent a car. It will never offer refuge and will rarely be called home.
The demolition of the former tree ripped the grass from the ground. So, the green and yellow blades were replaced with dainty squares of pre-grown grass. The seams left behind by this unnatural planting have started to fill in. In the city, nature takes what it can get.
I live in a state where temperatures in the summer are expected to reach and hover around Fahrenheit’s triple digits. I live on a planet with a finite source of drinkable water — a planet where people routinely do not have access to clean water, let alone drinkable. Yet, every day I see concrete being watered as inept sprinklers fail to spray the precious liquid on grass that will never stay green anyway.
Even in the massive metropolis where I reside, there are stretches of highway that cut through open fields. But every time I travel them, I notice the open spaces are shrinking. ‘Land for Sale’ signs are the orange paint of meadows.
I recently saw a wild sunflower patch flattened. What replaced it? A parking lot for a hotel. Want to know how many hotels were already standing in a one block radius? Three.
I’m not against cities. I live in the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. I throw no stones. Still, I think to most of us, this massive and invasive urbanization feels wrong. Humanity’s main problems stem from choosing hubris over harmony.
Planting a tree is reaching a hand out to Mother Nature. I just hope she’ll take it.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
Get 10 free trees from the Arbor Day Foundation
Apply for tree seedlings from the National Wildlife Federation
Learn how to plant a tree