I was fortunate to travel to London, England this past summer, and while walking in Hyde Park, I came across an interesting sight: There was a huge tree in the middle of the path. The sidewalk gave priority to the tree's growing room. Why was this interesting, you say? Well I'm glad you asked!
I think our culture's values are embedded in our constructions, be they parks, skyscrapers, or suburban McMansions. What struck me about this tree and split sidewalk was that someone valued this particular tree enough to build around it instead of plow it down in the process of building a waterfront walkway. No big deal, you say? When was the last time that you saw a sidewalk built around a tree? I can't remember another time that I've seen it. And that's why it was interesting! It's rare enough that I noticed it. I was happy to see this nice example of someone making a good choice, but a little sad that it was such an unusual sight.
Now perhaps I'm slightly more enthusiastic about the symbolism of foliage than the average person, but my inclination is that there's more to be seen in this split sidewalk than just a gentle reminder about the aesthetic quality of trees. In our own lives, we too often end up extricating (good word!) something we really value for something lesser. In other words, we plow down the park for sake of the sidewalk. Not that there's anything wrong with building a sidewalk, but it's meant to enhance the park, not replace it.
How about taking a minute every now and then to remember the trees in your life? Family, friends, arts, sports, or whatever else they may be, make sure you're giving them the attention they deserve. It's only natural to want to enhance our lives by building a walkway in the park, but don't get so focused on building a bigger, better park that you cut down the trees. The trees are why you built the park in the first place.
November 6, 2008
“Good developers have always known the value, but it's become much more prominent in the last five to 10 years that more developers are seeing the value of working around trees.”
- Randy Caldwell
Joel Hilchey speaks and facilitates workshops across North America, empowering students, educators & business leaders who want to build stronger, more positive teams and communities. Contact him by phone at 1-877-487-5635 or check him out online at www.joelhilchey.com!
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The Arbor Day Foundation inspires people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees!
Check out a few of the quantifiable benefits listed here, and browse around to learn more about trees than you ever thought you could! Why? Important things like this are worth thinking & learning about.