Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Landscape of Childhood

Do you ever revisit the landscapes that you played in as a child?  I spent a good part of my childhood playing in a creek near the house in Georgia where we lived at the time.  It seemed a world away from my house, but it was really only a few hundred yards.  I would walk back into the woods behind my house, through my neighbor's yard and then walk back along the creek to my favorite spot, where there was a little bend and a big tree with nice roots.  I would dig white clay from the creek bed to make little clay pots out of, and would leave them to dry on a log.  I made mud huts for my Barbies.  I tried to dam the creek, unsuccessfully of course but I learned some basic engineering in those attempts anyway.  I cut cane and tried to make a shelter for myself, in case I ever needed a getaway.  Sometimes I would bring friends down there too, but they usually acted bored or didn't appreciate things the way I did, so I usually chose to go there alone.  It was a magical, special place where my creativity and spirit were always nurtured and accepted.  I loved my creek.

So, playing about on Google maps one day, you can imagine my shock and horror when I discovered what that exact spot on the creek looks like now.

Red circle = my old house.

It's a road.  And a culvert.  And naked, ugly red clay and asphalt.  And this road doesn't even appear to be very necessary - there are a couple of houses back there, but why does it loop around like that?  Was this one of those subdivisions gone bust in the recession?  Is that big building or footprint or whatever it is on the left side of the road , one of those vestiges of corporate sprawl gone wrong?  This is such a common story in the southeast, unfortunately. 

The culvert is in the exact location of my magical place.  My most cherished childhood landscape is underground, raped and destroyed for...apparently, nothing.

I used to think that this creek was the reason I decided to become a landscape architect.  Now I know, for certain, that the destruction of this creek is the reason I MUST be a landscape architect, and prevent this from happening to any other grown up child of the creek.  It is my calling, and my obligation to do so.

1 comment:

  1. *hugs*

    You're right, of course. There is such a creek, or a tree, or a hillside in many of us. <3

    Thank you for sharing.