May 22, 2007

On Urban Living and Sunsets

Sunset in Toledo, Ohio (Toledo, OH) The colors in the Northwest Ohio sky were spectacular tonight, and I wanted to capture them for my photography blog. Unfortunately, I could not seem to find an open space that was free from billboards, buildings, and electrical lines, so I had to settle for images like this one.

Urban living often takes the form of such compromises between nature and development, and city dwellers sacrifice a great deal of access to the natural world in the name of "progress." Of course, that to which we are "progressing" might not necessarily be an improvement in the long run, but we seem to have difficulty thinking beyond the next fiscal year or election cycle.

I am not by any stretch an ecological radical, yet I recognize that economic development exacts a heavy toll on our connections with the natural environment. Many people can appreciate the beauty of an Atlantic sunrise, or the sublime feeling of standing at the base of a snow-capped mountain, and yet most of us have to travel to experience such spectacles without the incessant intrusion of the commercial and the industrial.

And even then, to be sure, one is sure to come across fast food containers littering the otherwise pristine wilderness.

I looked again through the dozens of images I collected this evening, and there was nary a picture that could be cropped in such a way as to limit the presence of urban sprawl in my photos. Once again I had to watch this beautiful sunset through the distorted lens of human progress, and once again I longed for a closer relationship with the natural world.


HumboldtsClio said...

I hear you. My parents moved out to the country when I was a kid, and while we live free of phone lines (they're buried), fast food wrappers (in the trash) and even neighbors, if you stand outside to listen for birds, you can also hear the endless dulcet tones of M-14 rushing by just north of us.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Some time ago, I went into a bit of a tizzy about our inability to bury such unsightly utilities under the sidewalks.

On second thought, a six-foot wide right-of- way down the backs of all properties would be a better alternative, with the exploding number of utilities available, that is.