Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Trees or Concrete?

Late last week I was having a really bad day and decided to get outside during my lunch hour for a change. (I should probably do this more often, but I usually play hermit in my office instead.) It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to trek the few blocks to a neat restaurant in downtown Edmonton, the Three Bananas Cafe, that I know makes a good vegetarian panini, served with organic corn chips and also has fair trade coffee.

This cafe is situated off to the side of Sir Winston Churchill Square, a newly redeveloped city block that is used for many different purposes, such as The Works visual arts festival and the Taste of Edmonton food festival. The Square used to have grass and trees in it, with some cement sidewalks going through on the diagonal; now it is pretty much covered in concrete, with some trees around the edges.

On my way through the Square to the cafe, I noticed a bunch of people kneeling on the cement drawing and writing with big chalk. Even an RCMP officer was drawing with chalk on the cement. People had written things like "A tree used to grow here" and "Green is Beautiful" as well as some other more poetic things I can't remember anymore.

All of this brought a smile to my face and turned my crappy day into a much nicer day. A lady offered me a piece of chalk to draw with, and so I did. I claimed a concrete sqare, got down on my hands and knees and wrote, "Don't trade away tomorrow for today" and drew a picture of a tree and a flower. I then went in to the cafe for lunch, had my delicious veggie panini, and watched people come and go, drawing and writing. By the time I got back outside, a huge area had been covered in chalk, all in the praise of trees and the loss of our urban green space.

I was sad for the loss of the trees and grass that had grown there before but glad that people cared enough to make their statements on the concrete.

I think I will plant a tree.


Lori said...

I am glad that you did that Theresa! Churchill Square used to be so beautiful. I never understood why they changed it.

Theresa said...

I agree with you Lori. They could've left a lot more trees there in the middle of the square and still made it a good place to set up tents and kiosks and such. It's too bad.