A tiger which has just eaten your daughter may not be welcome in your street but, objectively, it's as beautiful as ever it was before it escaped its cage; its stripes are as striking, its coat as shiny and thick. You may feel differently about it now it has turned your family into a ready meal - but that's another matter.
Once an eye is tuned to disregarding the practical, ethical or conventional trappings of street plants, able, for a few moments, not to take into account that they crack tarmac but admire their strength, notice that a tree growing on the top of a building makes an interesting silhouette even though its roots are cracking the chimney and nudging slates from the roof so passers by are in danger of having their heads split open; even if some plants have to be pulled up and some trees taken down; once it's possible to separate what something looks like from what it's doing and whether it should be doing it, all sorts of other things leap into sight as objects of delight and scenes to be appreciated before they are changed.
Ruined castles were once homes but many people like to see them, none the less. Giant cooling towers which pump steam into the air, waste power and dominate the landscape can look impressive when viewed from a train. If we are able to disengage our thoughts about things like these in order to see them, then why not others? Why not grow an internal switch which can be flicked on and off so we can ask ourselves 'what does this look like?' 'what is it doing?' before we ask whether it should it be doing it and whether anything need be done about it?
|This picture first shown on my other blog - Message in a Milk Bottle|
Coca-Cola Can and Green Plant in Kerb
Much that litters the gutters, rattles and blows against plants already there, has been designed to entice shoppers. Some is the result of years and years of research. Someone has bothered to make it. Tins and bottles are bright and shiny and interestingly shaped. Paper and plastic bags blowing down the street can be like low flying kites until they are rained into sogginess and ready to be swept away. Dustbins and recycling trays can make an exciting percussion when they blow down the road. Even in the night, when they wake us, they can be like drums calling, taking us, in our imagination, into places of adventure and change. It may well be that they knock down the next elderly person that comes in their way. They may tip litter and old bones all over the place - but that doesn't mean they aren't making an interesting noise as they do it.