Thursday, November 20, 2008


So, today I decided to take a walk and ease my brain for a bit of time. Taking the 'think like a traveler route' I just walked around my block and made observations. So, here they are:

I've never noticed it, but right next to my apartment complex there is a fenced area. Through the holes of the fence it looks like someone has made a sort of microcosm of their own. I saw run down cars, old trailers, a different kind of life in the middle of a suburb. Then I noticed this tree with various things hanging on it, and there is was...a parrot. Just sitting on a tree branch, without a care in the world. I've never seen a parrot just chilling in a tree. But I knew right away that that tree was his home, and I could tell that it was an aged parrot, who had similarly like its owner, claimed this microcosm as its home. They made their own retreat, own world in the middle of a suburb.

I continued to walk, I even picked up a leaf from the ground. What was the story of this leaf? It looked withered and old like a person of 100 years who had led a very harsh life. Lines of stories were told on the leaf. The color of the leave when it fell told another story. I decided that the leaf should walk with me for a while, it looked like it had some stories that it needed to tell.

I saw a small tree. It looked like it had roses...and persimmons on it. That was peculiar, I thought. But what a perfect tree, edible beauty. A treat for all senses. We engineer plants all the time, how about an engineered beautiful fruit tree, where you can eat the produce and love how it looks in your yard. Flowers in the winter, fruit in the summer.

Then I came across a larger tree, that was on the land of one house, and the leaves fell on the other. It was like the who houses were sharing the tree. And then I realized that this was probably a point of argument for the neighbors. "The tree is on your land, but the leaves are falling on my ground, get rid of it!!" Then the other neighbor would say "I had no control of how the tree would grow, or where the leaves would fall, and since the tree is on my land, you have no right to tell me to get rid of my tree!" And in all of this argument, the only victim is the tree. Trees are planted where the seeds fall, and grow towards the light. The tree provided the houses with shade in sunny times, and insulation in winter. It prevented flooding of the ground in times of rain. And yet an argument of neighbors could bring this tree to an early demise.

So then I began to think of all the living things in this world. This tree was ALIVE. this tree was probably older than you or I. When this tree began to grow, it knew it was going to live, and be around for many years past that of the human life span. The tree had thousands of years to perfect itself, how to survive the cold winters, the times of low water, the times of hot sun. And to put this tree to shame, people shop down it's brothers and sisters to create an object...a object that does not grow, that leaks when it rains, that does not insulate when it gets cold, that does not add seek constant humidity. The second the house was built it's a task of eternal maintenance. While this tree laughed and thought, "You ignore me, build this house of inferiority, and then scold me for shedding my leaves."

Trees and every other living thing has already gone through hundreds of thousands of design iterations, and they naturally change to suit their environment. I laugh at man who sits down for a minute or two and decide that their design is better than natures. We should learn to work with what we have, instead of always deciding that we know better.

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