Like a Flower Growing through Concrete: Urban Nature

IMG_5855I’ve been lucky to live amongst the forests and plants for the majority of my life from the Appalachian Mountains, the Rockies of Colorado, the Poconos, the beaches of Cape Cod, and the countryside of Lancaster, PA. Yet, some of the most valuable insights I have received from nature have been amidst the cityscape of Philadelphia. Nature & city are two words that serve as opposites. I challenge that perception.

The urban landscape highlights the resilient strength of the natural world.

A flower will push its way in between the cracks of a sidewalk. It refuses to hide its beauty despite the heaviness of the concrete. There is no stopping the fierce beauty of the flower to claim its original habitat, its purpose to shine bright and attract the bees.

The sycamore trees of West Philadelphia line the sidewalks. Their bark displays a colorful arrangement of browns, beiges, greens, and whites. Whirling like a watercolor painting in a camouflage pattern. The sycamores rise high above the rowhomes, reaching up to the sunshine that human construction often obstructs.

The roots of the ginkgo and maple trees of Rittenhouse Square push through and gently redecorate the placement of the historical brick sidewalks. The roots of the oak punch through the asphalt, creating new nature made speed bumps. A times nature moves gently and at times She moves with swift force.

Nature always finds a way, and we do we. Outside forces can try to control and direct our lives away from our true path, but we, like nature, are resilient. 


We are no different from nature. Our resiliency shines when given the opportunity to receive a challenge. We have the capacity to grow through the blockades. There are times when slow and gentle is the way to grow, & there are times that we need to move with the force of hurricane winds.

It takes courage to journey back to the sweetness of the real self. It can be a daring act to believe that we are beyond brokenness and stagnancy. That we are not stuck in a pattern. There’s always a way out if you are willing to break through concrete. It takes bravery to see beyond the guilt and shame we may impose upon ourselves, or that which another imposes on us. We must be willing to dive into what triggers us, find what makes us come alive, be open, curious, and compassionate without judgement. The journey may be slow at first. Baby steps, walking through thick mud, searching for the first glimpse of light. If we keep walking, keep trusting, stay fierce in conviction, then the light will shine. The concrete will break. It will crack wide open.


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