Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Magical Spaces

Over the weekend I was talking to my sister Lisa who was worrying about the state of her yard. She has over half an acre of yard and mowing it is a chore even with two sons to help. I suggested she forget about mowing it and turn it into a meadow instead. She thought that was a good idea but was afraid her neighbors might object. Well, I suppose there is that.

So we got talking about “the woods” where we played all the time when we were kids. Because there had once been a house there in which an old woman had lived there were lots and lots of flowers. She had many rose bushes that had gone wild in the years since her death and lots of perennial plants too, daffodils and jonquils and lilies of the valley. It was really quite an amazing place.

Down near the stream that ran through the woods we often found two species of wild flowers that I have loved all my life, Lady's Slippers and Trillium. I've been told that Lady's Slippers are actually a species of orchids. How wonderful. We used to pick them to bring home until our mother told us that we really should let them grow so they could replenish themselves. I don't think there was a lot that I found more magical back then than coming upon a clump of beautiful Lady's Slippers or Trillium tucked in the damp shade of the hemlock trees that bordered that little stream.

Over the weekend a bunch of wonderful people here in Gloucester did a heroic thing. Down on Rogers Street which runs parallel to the harbor there was an eyesore that existed for years, a lot, known as I4C2, which was zoned for marine-industrial use and had not been used in years. There was a big, overgrown chain-link fence around it and the lot was filled with massively overgrown weeds --- talk about a meadow. Through various means, the city recently took possession of the lot and the DPW went down there and removed the fence and mowed down the weeds. Last weekend, under the leadership of the endlessly ambitious and dedicated Ed Collard, a group of dedicated citizens went down to work on this huge lot. A call was put out to gardeners to bring their thinnings and spare plants to be used in a garden at the corner of the lot.

Well, the turn out was incredible. Not only did a bunch of folks show up to work but they got so many plants donated they wound up making 5ive gardens. Someone brought a bunch of beach rose bushes and there are also rhododendrons. The place looks amazing. But the bast part is it has opened up a view of the harbor that is just stunning. You can look out across the lot to the harbor and see the old Paint Factory on the far side. It is not only breathtaking but a real bonus to the business owners who have shops across the street!

There is much to be said for wild places --- or semi-wild places and I hope our new waterfront park flourishes and thrives. Whether it is a woods sheltering Lady's Slippers and Trillium, or a waterside park lined with beach roses these places are a delight to the senses.

Thanks for reading.

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