Saturday, May 4, 2019

living soil

As I walk down the street, I reach out and touch the tree sprouting through its small square inch of planter mulch. City Trees are so incredible, so majestic. They are a glimpse of the world outside—a reminder that, underneath these concrete and asphalt grids lies soil—seething humus sprinkled on the firm granite bedrock.

I touch its bark—tough, scaly—the sort of armor the humans of this city wear.

The mystic sycamores sway in the sunlight sneaking through the thin slats of sky carved by the brownstones and apartment buildings. The silent prayer of growing things, the slight hum of life reverberates in the spring air.

It's a symphonic season—the world bursting into sound all at once, without a visible conductor, but with surprisingly simpatico coordination.

I imagine, as my fingertips graze the tree bark, if this wild symphony of growth took over the concrete and the asphalt. What if these trees swallowed this whole city?

I imagine Manhattan under a thin layer of water, perhaps just enough to send small waterfalls into the subway and to soften the concrete slightly. Perhaps it will even dissolve in the water. Perhaps the trees can eat the concrete.

Manhattan is such a permanence. I wonder how it can ever become a bit smaller, a bit more manageable, how can it become a more natural wilderness again?

Barring the violence of an Aleppo, a clearly inappropriate use of human ingenuity to destroy that which ought to be preserved.

I imagine that these trees mutate to eat concrete, to fuel their photosynthesis with the softened shale of sidewalk.

I imagine this entire city under ivy, moss, and forest. This is the Manhattan I would love to see. Perhaps we will live in trees instead of giant skyscrapers. The Midatlantic climate would have to become a more tropical mangrove forest instead.

This morning, the mist over the Hudson covers downtown. From my outcropping by the Jersey cliffs, underneath the George Washington Bridge, I am simply in a forest of bright green, new spring trees, red flowers, and water.

Nothing here exists except for earth. And I love it.

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