Saturday, 14 May 2016

Life Flourishing in the Cracks

     One of the inspirations for the logo of Manhattan's Leaf was a piece by David Suzuki called 'Life flourishes even in the cracks.' Writing about grass, weeds, vines, and other plants which grow in the city sidewalk cracks, among bricks, or on rock faces, Suzuki quotes researcher Jeremy Lundholm, 'rather than seeing our communities as entirely human-created, unnatural environments, we should recognize that urban spaces are in many ways "structurally and functionally equivalent" to natural ecosystems.' 
     To me this was reminiscent of the human microbiome, as well as the bacterial ecosystem of a city, such as the New York City subwayI believe the city and its people are beautiful in themselves, but living here, my family also finds ourselves being outdoors and enjoying nature in ways that we rarely did before. Here we walk everywhere, go to playgrounds or beautiful parks sometimes twice a day, and are in walking distance from a rocky river shore where the kids can see seaweed and algae, climb and collect rocks. Jacqueline is learning the names of plants growing next to the sidewalk, in planters, parks and gardens. She remembers all of them and collects fallen flowers, even if we can't grow them in our own space. 
     I love to see the places that plant life springs up amidst the concrete walks or pre-war walls. The fern above was outside a nearby subway station. It helps to live in a quieter neighborhood with easy access to parks, but even downtown the same things occur: mossy brick, a dandelion in the sidewalk. They're beautiful reminders. To me, of renewing the city with life and healing (and in a lesser way, the microscopic life within us!).

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