Nature and civilization

Michigan Avenue from the North Garden of the Art Institute, Chicago © 2013 Celia Her City

Why, you may wonder, is Celia angry about the city’s decision to fell a few old trees?  Here, in the north garden of the Art Institute, we may find an answer.

For, on one side of the garden—just steps from Michigan Avenue—, are two improbably aged, enormous, gnarly, overreaching trees.  They are not decorous, they are not over-managed; they are awesome, merely.

In a town incessantly straining against its nature to be great, these trees are possibly the most cultured things around, because they are dignified, and because their stewards have accorded them the respect and even reverence necessary for them to survive.  Though the garden they’re situated in has been remade several times, they have been left alone to achieve the majesty and character that is the work of time.

Next time you are at the museum, be sure to take a moment out for these glorious trees.

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