My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): the magic of finding nature in the very urban


Some of my favorite urban nature spots are very urban.

It can be the shade from a generously large ash tree on a local patio with its leaves gently waving in a summer's breeze.  It can the surprising presence of queen anne's lace and golden rod in the median of a downtown boulevard, looking like they properly belong beside daylilies and ornamental grasses.  Or it might be a quiet rooftop refuge on top of the busy central core shopping district where the air conditioning unit sounds almost like a water fountain lulling you into a relaxed trance.  It also could be the unexpected visit of a winged visitor while waiting to catch the bus home after a long day's work.  You never know where your next encounter with nature will be.

Some of my favorite urban wild experience are very urban.

I think that is where the magic is.  It's that unexpected visit from a friendly creature, the quick peer of a rabbit from a shrub before it ducks back down, or even the view of a soaring raptor above a city block.  The city seems more friendly when you run into some wild neighbours.  It also seems more welcoming with patches of green.  Pocket parks have become popular in large cities: a quiet nook tucked away from the city street, a corner of lush green that gives you a pause when walking down the sidewalk.  Pocket parks can be planned by the municipality with benches, shade trees or the calming sound of falling water but they can also be unplanned wild corners, a path across a empty field or a building's patio lined with scrub trees.  All green retreats provide calm, relaxing spaces where the urban concrete gives way to nature's foliage - it breaks up the grey, hard built environment.

Urban can be green and wild.  Just look around.

It always startles me to see a tree growing on a roof.  I love the idea of flowers located stories above the busy road buzzing with native bees.  I'm always noting any unexpected wildflowers that find a home in urban spaces - always a great excuse to explore tangled side streets and back alleys.  And I was always thrilled when I could have my lunch break outdoors under a tree.  Even better if I could lie back in some grass and look up at a green canopy of leaves.  (Now I work at home and try to take some time to either visit my backyard or at least view it a couple of times a day.) That's what real breathing space is all about - green really refreshes.

With this I could always get on with my day with a little bit of an extra spring to my step and renewed energy.  Thanks to some urban green!

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