Monday, September 22, 2008

Lincoln, Nebraska Hates Flowers--A Rant

I drive Rosa Parks Way every day, twice--no, it's not Rosa Parks Parkway, which makes more sense to me. It used to be called Capital Parkway, which also made sense because it leads straight to the penis of the prairie, uh, capital building. I don't want to get in to too much trouble, so let me move along.

There were hundreds, if not thousands of sunflowers lining this four lane, 50mph, 3 mile stretch of road.

They are all gone now.

The city crews brought their big mowing tractors in and that's that. No more gorgeous yellow blooms in the twilight of summer. No more pollinator heaven. No more nature. I mean, who doesn't like flat, browning expanse? Oh, the migrating geese do like this spot....

These plants were far from the road, in fields and gullies, nowhere near sight lines or such that might imperil drivers. This just really @^^&**$^!~@#$$^ pisses me off. It's like the trees they cut down on campus to make room for building new dorms / unions, trees that stand at the FRONT of where these new buildings will be, not in the MIDDLE. Will they replace the trees? Hell yes. Will they be small and marooned in concrete planters like the union plaza? Indeed. Will they drop leaves early, stressed because their feeder roots are under 10,000 square feet of concrete sidewalks, like the many maples in front of the union? Hmm.

Anyway, back to the sunflowers that used to make my drive in to teach at 9am and my zombie like drive home at 2 delightfully bookended and uplifting--here's to you, helianthusized, euthanized, pulverized. May the sunflowers along Highway 77 remain untouched and find their seeds blown your way. Damn Lincoln.


Les said...

Don't they realize that those flower heads will offer some kind of bird a delicious meal? Or is that what they were afraid of? VDOT use to plant Eleagnus fruitlandii or ebengii in the medium, until they started having mass bird-vehicle encounters as the birds suffered/enjoyed the effects of the fermenting fruit and were unable to miss the traffic. VDOT eventually pulled them out, but have yet to replant with anything.

themanicgardener said...

Whatever IS their excuse? I gather they weren't just mowing the margins of the highway? (And if they were, couldn't they time things better?) Yuck and yuck and yuck.

Anonymous said...

Why is the question! I am outraged right along with you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Benjamin, it does seem senseless. Maybe the bird in the windshield thing? Here in our part of TN the ecologists had a time when the medians were planted with wildflowers and were left to seed themselves. Then we entered this drought and there was just bare dirt so no more wildflowers. For now anyway. I would say that you are not the only one bothered by this and might want to find like minded individuals to let your feelings known. Being a writer and all, you should be able to compose something eloquently persuasive to an elected official who knows that harm to the environment harms us all and let him or her carry the standard for save the sunflowers!

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Benjamin Vogt said...

Les--Well, I understand if things were too close to the road, as bird / car collisions aren't good for anyone. But still, we know what's right....
TMG--They mowed hundreds of feet off the highway, in a low field. Grrr.
Layanee--But a swimming pool would make it better. It's 85 here today!
Frances--I thought about doing an op / ed piece or writing somewhere, but I don't ahve the time. I mean, I REALLY don't have the time. I've always wanted to see wildflowers in medians, but what happened by you could be the outcome, never thought of that. Still, there has to be an alternative. I'm sure we've both heard about DOR in various states promoting wild / native vegetation on the sides of highways, the do this here in spots. Seems like a win win to me!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

But you left out the salt-in-the-wound irony - you had to pay for it. (I wonder if the financial aspect of this was pointed out to the city, this wouldn't happen again.) And then there's the extra gasoline used & pollution generated needlessly.