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Sunday January 21, 2018
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Notes from the Field



Until 1997, when the Kroger store on the lot closed, and for a few more years before the last small tenants relocated across Broadway, these seven acres were paved. When the buildings were demolished, weeds sprouted through cracks, revealing dry, seemingly barren earth scattered with little stones and fragments of pavement: a raw and evocative landscape. The plants were of the sort that thrive in disturbed land: often deep-rooted, reaching down for nutrients and water and slowly bringing them to the surface, enriching the soil, attracting birds and insect pollinators and the gaze of creative and observant humans.

Killdeer moved in. Their families grew; their descendants continue to pierce the sky with their calls. The young ones strut along sidewalks and streets.


Eight years ago, the field reached its zenith of biodiversity. It was an explosion of color and vitality, rich with medicinal value for soil, humans, and other animals. Every day something new sprang up: scatters of flowers, fountains of green and purple and gold in shapes wilder than imagination. They transformed the soil into something life-supporting. It struck me as a rich potential ground for the study of how rapidly life regenerates and each part interacts with every other.

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