I've been getting to know my new city slowly, and my mental map and personal views have so far been very influenced by my job. My daily destination is more likely to be Bouvier and Diamond than Broad and Walnut. While downtown Philly does have some old nice trees, that possibly are old enough to have seem some serious history, its nothing compared to the nature one finds in North Philly. In our war against Nature, Nature seems to have the upper hand in this part of the city, and is slowly gaining ground. My favorite nature v. townhouse moment is when I east on Lehigh toward my office. There is this one particular abandoned house, in the middle of a row of townhouses, on one of the busiest streets in North Philly that actually has a tree growing out of one of the second story windows. Sometimes, though, when I walk down a block, its eerily quiet. One can't hear the sound of trees munching up houses but you can see it. Some blocks are around seventy five percent abandoned (a guesstimate) and when I walk by their wooden, metal, or open air windows I marvel at how such an important city can be at times so...empty and sad.
Close to my house, only a twenty minute drive from these battle scarred blocks, I discovered a very different type of nature. The area around the Art Museum astounded me as I walked/jogged around it at sunset. Gazebos overlooking the river, the city, or latticed, raised, criss-crossing highways provide a lovely nook to have a romantic moment, or an opportunity to simply take in beauty while in a city. The paths for bikers and joggers are surrounded by green grass and greener waterways covered in algae. I was taken a aback by how beautiful the skyline is, and how foreign it was to the nature I had experienced previously in the same day.