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Sunday, October 26, 2014

NATURE IN A PARKING LOT



Walking through a wet Fred Meyer's parking lot today I spotted these long brown scaly leaves belonging to a Coastal Redwood. They are rather unique in shape and grow in Redwood canopies (the upper leaves of the Redwood).  

We had a very windy day yesterday and these leaves were blown out of their trees to do their duty for nature.

Immediately, I thought what purpose can fallen leaves have in a parking lot. Leaves in all their shapes and colors certainly have a reason for falling to the ground. They serve as homes for insects and other small critters plus they add mulch and fertilize the soil -- plus more. 

Why do we need so many parking lots all paved over with non-porous materials?  Not only are we erecting more buildings but then we surround these buildings with huge parking lots.

From Joni Mitchell lyrics, "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."  I will now bow out and let Joni's words tell the story I am trying to tell. Here is her two minute song on Your Tube -----




32 comments:

  1. In Cambridge we see more and more cycle racks outside new buildings - though still huge areas set aside for parking. At least all the trees are not yet in the tree museum.

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    1. John -- Cycle racks are a good indication that some are avoiding using cars. I'm not saying we should all walk or ride a bike or take a bus (hmm maybe I am). I discovered an old way of constructing a parking lot here in the Portland area. It was quite large and it was basically dirt with a bit of gravel. The lot was full of cars. -- thanks -- barbara

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  2. All I've got to say is we really do not need cars. Take the bus.
    Ride a bike.

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    1. Rubye, I agree there are many alternative modes of transportation, the exception to this idea is that long distance travel pretty much requires a car (or a horse) (or perhaps a bike) -- that is if one plans on getting to their destination in a timely manner. thanks -- barbara

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  3. You have included any possible comment in you post ....

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    1. visualnorway -- thanks -- some parking lots are dreadful eyesores in addition to being environmentally unhealthy. -- barbara

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  4. I encountered the song recently on another blog, making the same statement.
    My library had several sections of its sidewalk replaced last year, and in the fall the oak leaves leave their brown impression behind on the new cement. I was never happy with any picture I took last year. Now we have last year's impressions as well as the new ones. I'm still working on a picture.

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    1. Joanne -- Interesting -- I guess many feel the same about parking lots. Wouldn't be neat if as reminders of nature that impressions were laid down of leaves etc in the library's wet cement. But for now the brown impression are pretty cool too. -- thanks -- barbara

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  5. Love Joni...and your awareness of earth vs. parking lots! Good photo too.

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    1. Barb -- Our era of music was real. Real to what was happening to our world. Our generation felt deeply about the misappropriations being carried out by you know who. So we made music to counter the wrongs. thanks -- barbara

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  6. Yes indeed. She was on of my all time favorites. Then music had some meaning and relevance to real life....

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    1. troutbirder -- I agree! music then had a lot of truths. I still love to listen to all of the era's music. It certainly did have relevance to real life -- thanks barbara

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  7. We also experienced the rain and wind in Seattle. Yes, it seems like there are more and more barren spaces in areas designed for cars, which is just about everywhere.

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    1. Hattie -- Oh all the way up to Seattle! It was quite blustery, I do notice barren spaces yet when a new lot is constructed they continue to construct LARGE. thanks -- barbara

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  8. It's really a shame we became a society so dependent on and built for the automobile. The freedom it's provided is nice, but so many unintended, unforeseen, and very harmful consequences have resulted. And you've described one that few people think of (there's also all the heat that radiates off all the pavement in the summer, making hot days hotter still!)

    Let's hope some autumn gusts blow the pretty leaves, twigs, seeds and other bits of nature's recyclable materials that create compost, humus and habitat onto some dirt where they can do all the good that nature intended!

    Have you heard about pervious concrete and porous asphalt used for roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways that is becoming more and more popular in the PNW? While it's no match for all the good that soil does, it's an ecological improvement over the impermeable stuff.

    I've always loved Big Yellow Taxi (and Joni Mitchell!)

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    1. Laloofah -- I read your last blog about all the walking you have been doing. Isn't it wonderful when you walk all the sights both large and small that you notice. I used to ride my bike a lot untill I gave it to my granddaughter -- it was a retro schwinn -- fun to ride to the store and back. I plan on getting another bike some day. Riding a bike also opens ones eyes to surroundings that you miss in a car. I am not bashing cars or trucks. but sometimes one can walk or ride to a store as quickly as taking a car.

      I have heard about the pervious concrete and porous asphalt being used around Portland. I must say that Portland is quite green.

      thanks -- barbara

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    2. Walking is absolutely my favorite mode of transportation, followed by bike rides - in no small part because of the reason you cite - it allows you to see and hear so many of the small things you'd otherwise miss. On our walk to the quilt shop and library in my penultimate post (the one you mention), Pam and I spied a pelican standing in a marshy area down below the footpath. Would have missed seeing him (her?) completely had we made the 3-mile trip by car - and neither of us had EVER seen a pelican in these parts before! :-) (Pity I wasn't lugging my camera along!)

      It seems to me I'd first read about the pervious concrete/porous asphalt being used in an intentional community (a pocket neighborhood, I think) in Seattle a few years ago. Hopefully the idea will spread to all the places it will work. And yes, I've heard that about Portland - we look forward to visiting and exploring that green and progressive "vegan Mecca" one day soon! :-)

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    3. A pelican! Now that was a great occasion to see him or her while on your way to the library with your hiking friend! I looked up their territory and it seems that white pelicans can do interiors while the brown pelicans are ocean guys. Perhaps your pelican was white? -- barbara

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  9. Thanks for the photo and the music. Happily I live where trees very greatly outnumber parking lots.

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    1. June -- Your welcome. That is good news about your parking lots. Portland still maintains thousands of trees even though there are parking lots. But with the population shifts toward the west I feel that we are in for more parking lots. thanks -- barbara

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  10. Nature arranged itself beautifully for you here! It's amazing how inspiring a Fred Meyer parking lot can be :) Seeing more and more of the porous concrete around here these days too.

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    1. Melissa -- I think having a camera with you naturally makes you more alert to your surrounding. That was not an arranged photo -- I was just walking along looking at all the beautiful leaves that the former storm had blown around when I noticed the yellow stripe with the redwood and colored leaves -- of course the Yellow Taxi song started dancing in my head at the same time. thanks -- barbara

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  11. Joni knew what she was talking about.

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    1. Michelle -- I'm glad you agree with her words. We lost a great era of music of music when singers like her told it like it is through their music. thanks -- barbara

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  12. That is a painting! Mother Nature the artist. God, the provider

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    1. Diane -- Thanks for thinking this is a painting but it really was taken in a wet parking lot with no set-up. The yellow stripe of course was a marking line for the parking space.I am sure that folks coming out to their car that day thought I was a looney pointing my camera at the paved area and snapping photos in the rain. Oh well one needs to be a bit looney sometimes to capture subjects of interest. -- thanks -- barbara

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  13. I think parking lots push up the heat on the warmest days as well.

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    1. Tabor -- Did you ever notice the heat differential between city and country when one leaves an urban area of many parking lots. Much of this differential can be attributed to those parking lots reflecting the heat. thanks -- barbara

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  14. Our country is set up for cars...I loved Amsterdam where cars are not possible for the most part because of all the canals...so you see a lot of vehicles with pedals made for feet...and a lot of walking...Yes, Joni Mitchell's song said it so well! (having said this, I do use my car, even when I could walk short distances...) Your photo captures some interesting textures, Barbara...

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    1. Rita -- Amsterdam must be a fascinating place to visit with all the canals and bikes. I too use my car as the public transportation in Portland does not reach to many of the places I visit. Although Portland' system is excellent in the cities and its surrounding burbs. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  15. I like this one... and the recent others too.

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    1. Birdman -- thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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