Thursday, May 24, 2007

thirsty ground

When I was little I used to think about the hungry ground on rainy days. There was ground underneath the asphalt and concrete of streets and parkinglots and on a rainy day that ground couldn't drink the water like the exposed ground could. The rain water ran away, it ran off down the slope of the streets into storm drains and far away. Only where there were cracks could the ground drink up, and where it drank it grew weeds with roots that could slowly crack the street and parking lot into pieces, a slow Sampson, I called it.

The thirsty ground made me sad. That and so many other things made me revolt against the car culture that beats down on little kids and turns them into car-addicted adults.

I thought I was a little crazy to even think about such things as thirsty ground back then, but now we know all about stormwater runoff and impermeable surfaces and the problems that happen when all our rain water is diverted by our streets and parkinglots into lakes and rivers rather than seeping into the earth and refreshing the aquifers. Now we're trying to mitigate the problems that arise from all that asphalt by inventing permeable surfaces and engineering rain gardens.

Let that toddler wisdom out. Try to think how you thought about things before you only knew motion with cars. Let that thirsty ground drink. Get rid of a parking space, or the need for a parking space, today.