I’ve been walking every day during lunch, so I’ve had a lot of opportunity to explore some new areas near my new office. I started noticing these strange shapes in the pavement, and then I came upon a block with these very clear imprints – leaves.
I started thinking that, as we pave over most surfaces in urban and suburban environments, cement and pavement are the mediums by which the natural world will leave its fleeting mark. So while we search for leaf prints and foot prints in stone, generations to come may learn about our world, culture and society from what is left behind in our built environment.
I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say that I found these modern fossils to be bittersweet. I love the tenacity of the natural world and the way it makes its presence known (moss on paving stones, red tail hawks on skyscrapers, vacant lots overtaken by weeds), and I’m sad at how distant we’ve gotten from the dirt that is mere inches below the surface. I try to find ways to connect to the natural (or cultivated, but growing) world in my urban environment. Whether beach, field or forest, I find a craving to surround myself in the constantly changing world around me, and to note the subtle changes in the built environment where I spend my day to day life. One way or another, the world leaves its impact on us.