Midsummer between spring and fall

Isabelle and I did a twenty mile bike ride and hike to the Wissahickon today in honor of her brothers sudden passing during a run in the Pyrenees this day two years ago. We saw blooming asters, surely a preview of fall!

Also Bloodroot with an illuminated fallen leaf, portending the fall while still keeping the flame of Spring alive! It’s that time of year! Yes indeed the first hints of fall are here, even in this years most crazed and disturbing turbulence of summer.


We are interrupting our ongoing coverage of street trees in French and Spanish cities to briefly outline the deep vulnerabilities and flaws in the current U.S. transportation infrastructure, a theme we have been pounding away at in recent posts here at the Sanguine Root.

It is totally pathetic that the entire East Coast can be disabled by a section of crucial highway approximately 50 feet across and 100 feet long is taken out. We can do better than this!

Here are some solutions that conform to the laws of physics:

A: Build real high speed rail on the Northeast Corridor and implement a nationwide network across the U.S.

B: Build the Subway/ light rail along the Roosevelt Boulevard in NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA which it was originally intended!!

C: Thoughtfully consider scaling our economic system to be weighted towards a local scale instead of the wasteful hyper-capitalism which is straining to the breaking point the weak US transportation infrastructure among so many other things, such as the environment.

Below is the blue French TGV that Isabelle and I just rode from Toulouse to Paris, France at 200 miles per hour! Passengers are casually departing the train like they just got off a subway train! Contrast this image with the I -95 images on the news of the collapsed highway.

Let that sink in!


Boulevard de Charles de Gaulle

Leading from the RR station, visitors and city dwellers are greeted with this grand and stately row of mature upright palm trees.

Below, a park in the city with street trees and a parking area. Here is featured London Planes, Palms and the newer generation of diverse and native-to-the-region trees. Our knowledgeable local source and host informed us that the Palms and Planes are in decline and are blighted and that the city is responding by directing more attention to planting more native species.

The Palm trees as street trees are lush and beautiful and it is a shame that they are in decline, but not surprising due to so many factors: the uniform genetic makeup rendering whole swaths of them vulnerable to disease, a recent prolonged drought in the region, climate change factors such as rising yearly temperatures and of course the urban conditions they grow in.

The London Planes create a cathedral-like canopy in this narrow park bounded by streets on both sides. Symmetry, order, and grandeur are on full display and the trees are carefully limbed up for an elegant appearance. The uniform appearance of the single species stretching into the distance complements the sensibility of the French Garden brought into the public sphere.

Sadly, we may be witnessing the last of this aesthetic. 100 years ago, it was imagined and it was planted, the impressive rows of a single species, the cathedral-like canopies, the expressive palms and planes-straight and orderly-going as far as the eye can see into the horizon, asserting the size and greatness of cities, canals and country lanes!

Today, we are benefiting from this late 19th and early 20th century vision. In the city of Perpignan, the gorgeous mature canopies of London Planes, Palms and Horse Chestnuts are at their fullest expression, and we need to appreciate them and comprehend the vision, to fully understand the aesthetic of them.

And here we are, still at a moment in time when they are in their fullest expression of magnificence, there is this blight that ultimately dooms them.

As the grand Palms die off, they are being replaced with Maples and Oaks.

Across from the Railway station.

These Planes, in the typical harsh urban conditions are showing signs of stress.