I came across this lovely piece in one of my favorite online literary magazines, Narrative. I love the description of the narrators sense of wonder as he happens upon an intact ecosystem in the middle of suburbia. I particularly liked his sense of not wanting to go any farther, lest he happen upon a strip mall or a backyard that would destroy his sense of bewitchment.
I have spent the last ten years working with land conservancies and watershed councils on trying to preserve the high-quality ecosystems to which this essay refers, in the midst of the building boom. Now that the boom has gone bust, I often think about the reprieve given these places, both through our efforts at land conservation, and through the virtual stand-still of new construction.
Some think we will never return to those days of building bigger and bigger, farther and farther out; that when this economy heals the new development will be redevelopment of the urban core, finally. If so, are the sensitive ecosystems on the fringe of the exurban landscape out of harm's way? Can we direct our resources to restoration and redevelopment?
Clarkston, Michigan | Narrative Magazine