I grew up in upstate New York where a verdant spring was expected and a landscape of trees and flowers grew. Maples lined my backyard growing up. They were my ‘cones’ as I dribbled the soccer ball back and forth. Allergies came at full force like the April rains, all family members were awakened by a new season of flowers, pollen and umbrellas. I grew up surrounded by this natural beauty but one would never find me with my mouth wide-open admiring the beauty of potted plants, perennials or blooming hydrengea’s. Oh, and the bountiful ferns hugging the side of my grandparents home created a mini-rainforest that brought drops of dew each morning. To me, they were always there. With each new year came new buds and new leaves — sadly, I admit, I think I took these springtime moments for granted.
Now though, living in New York City, my senses are more perceptive and appreciative of such greenery. While I walk on sidewalks, tree-lined and shaded, or pass small batches of freshly turned dirt, I take notice of the flower beds wrapping the base of neighborhood oak trees. Newly planted Impatiens color apartment windowsills – red, purple, pink, alternating as you pass from one street to the next. The nature that fills the space between apartment buildings and businesses, streets and avenues, construction sites and unattended lots exists, and its juxtaposition next to these very urban backgrounds commits an added sense of beauty to such scenes. It does not go unnoticed. Besides city residents and the flow of tourists, this natural life enlivens an area and breathes energy into commercial and residential spheres. It’s a reminder that aside from the development lining our city panorama, marks of nature occur naturally – those aromatic scents of lavender and trails of birch leaves are just small examples. No paint or canvas, no photograph or trace of a stencil to draw these fresh views. They’re all around us – growing taller, greener, leaving shadows on our resources and blowing in the wind as the breeze passes us by.