A Forest Wilderness

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir

Bald Cypress stump, Downtown Dallas, Texas

Like all big evil cities – Dallas, in an attempt to add a little more “green” scatters trees along it downtown acres of concrete – mostly bald cypress – poking out from metal grates set in the sidewalks. But a city center is not a lush swamp – where the cypress feel at home – and they will eventually fail. Hopefully, this happens because the tree outgrows the little metal hole it is cursed to live in. The men will come along and break out pieces of the grate – but eventually the tree grows too big and has to be cut down.

I have mixed feelings about this. The trees do make the city more liveable. And you can’t really mourn a tree – it is only a plant. And the stumps do have an interesting look – sort of a mini-history of man’s failure to corral nature.

A nearby tree still growing, but doomed to be cut down soon.

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Wait For His Neighbours To Make A Mistake

“A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere. This was the sort of resident who was content to do nothing but sit in his over-priced apartment, watch television with the sound turned down, and wait for his neighbours to make a mistake.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Iron And Coke, And Chromium Steel

“Well we’re waiting here in Allentown,
For the Pennsylvania we never found,
For the promises our teachers gave,
If we worked hard,
If we behaved…
So the graduations hang on the wall,
But they never really helped us at all,
No they never taught us what was real,
Iron and coke,
And chromium steel,
And we’re waiting here in Allentown…
But they’ve taken all the coal from the ground,
And the union people crawled away…”
― Billy Joel

‘Tatlin’s Sentinel’ by John Henry, Arts District, Dallas, Texas

A New Kind Of 20th Century Life

“These people were content with their environment, and felt no particular objection to an impersonal steel and concrete landscape, no qualms about the invasion of their privacy by government agencies and organizations, and if anything welcoming these intrusions, using them for their own purposes. These people were the first to master a new kind of 20th century life. They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed. Alternatively, their real needs might emerge later.”
― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Fort Worth, Texas

Rumour Is A Pipe

“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”

― William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

Downtown Dallas, Texas

Where do these pipes go to? What do they convey? What comes pouring out of them when they decide it’s time to go to work? What happens if you are on the sidewalk beneath?

Everything Conceals Something Else

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Downtown Dallas