July 29, 2012
The Suburban Wilds
Wild Treasures of Beauty Near My Home -- Part 1
In the month I spent working on the website about my neighborhood, I found the survey map for the development. On the map were two long, narrow plots of land just behind the subdivision. I was curious as to what they were. It took me a while to track down the property records ---- it turned out the land was the retention pond for this subdivision (legally categorized as "waste land"). I always knew there was water behind the neighborhood as I could hear the frogs; I never realized it was "part" of this neighborhood. As I was doing a website about the neighborhood, early one morning I walked the mile to get back there, indulged in some trespassing, and this is what I found.................
(I give my usual caveat that I'm not a photographer and only have a point-and-shoot compact.)
Not a very promising sight from the outside..............
A graffitied, concrete ditch and a rusted fence topped with barbed wire greeted me.
Within the fenced area is the retention pond. The neighborhood houses are on the other side.
But when I went through the fence what I entered was a field with an assortment of grasses starred with wildflowers.
It was an unexpected wild space, a treasure of beauty hidden in the suburbs.
The actual pond was at the far end of the "waste land"...............
Exploring this unexpectedly lovely area, I thought "waste land" was inappropriate label.
But it's typically human to designate land that can't be built on, farmed, lumbered etc. as "waste"
even though this land performs a very important function for the subdivision.
Just recently we got over 15 inches of rain in a single day.
This land was part of the reason there wasn't any neighborhood flooding from all that rain.
There were moments when I forgot that I was in the suburbs.
I could have brought a picnic and felt I was out in the countryside.
As a child, trespassing or not, I would have spent many hours back here.....
wading in the water, picking wildflowers and enjoying the freedom of playing in a wild space.
At the very end of the water was a dense stand of trees.
It's use as a retention pond for the subdivision is apparent from this shot.
But this was a case of the practical combining with the aesthetic.
Humans took care of the practical while Mother Nature handled the aesthetics.
Unless you live in my neighborhood, odds are you'll never see this retention pond for yourself. Actually, even if you live in my neighborhood, odds are you'll never see this retention pond for yourself. I can't imagine many of my neighbors going back there for a look.
But, if like me, you don't live in out in the country, I hope this inspires you to look for the wild spaces around you. Even in cities, they're there if you look for them.
If you enjoyed this piece, you might like "A World of Greens, Grays and Browns.........
Views from the Edward Ball Nature Trail." For more of the Suburban Wilds series, check-out "The Suburban Wilds" and "The Suburban Wilds -- Creepy, Crawly Cockroaches"
Please take a moment to look at the Archive.