Thursday, October 25, 2007

Suburban Trees

Wednesdays, between my Internet Publishing and Library 2.0 classes , I have a 6 hour stretch, at least two of which I spend walking from campus to the local Whole Foods for lunch, roughly 2 miles away. I take to the back streets, attempting to walk a different route each time. I have a big soft spot for old suburbs like River Forest--the majestic canopy of old trees, the oftentimes exceptional architectural variety of the homes, the high octane manicure of their lawns, the lazy solitude of their weekday afternoons.

The trees may still be about a week out from offering their best displays of color, but some, like the one above, are in peak bloom.

I couldn't do justice to this tree. It was was monster, branches sprawling this way and that, leaves still obstinately green. What kind of tree? An oak? I don't know my trees!

I realize that my notions of suburbs are both idealized and nostalgic, willfully discarding the rapacious consumption they've encouraged and the entitlement they so often exhibit. Of course, the suburbs are an easy target for the disdain of those of us who gladly left them for a more urban experience. And it's a complex, fascinating dichotomy-- urban vs. suburban--and one not easily unpacked.

I've long been meaning to read Kenneth Jackson's history of the American suburb, Crabgrass Frontier, which tantalizingly offers chapters on suburban idealization (Home, Sweet Home: The House and the Yard) and suburban development between the two wars, which, based off my own experiences, yielded many of the suburbs like River Forest that I find so appealing. Perfectly fine, at least, for a leisurely afternoon stroll between classes.

1 comment:

kittent said...

great pictures. your internet publishing class sounds interesting.